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Kevin Bonham
21-02-2004, 11:30 PM
This is a spinoff from some of the discussion on the City of Sydney thread. It's at a tangent, because the case being discussed there isn't an example of it at all, but some of the discussion just reminded me of this issue in passing.

A paradigm case of what I'm talking about: In about 1993, <insert name here> won the Tasmanian U12 State Championship with an exceptional score of 13/14 (+12=2-0). This result was acheived in a field of a few dozen players, about eight of whom were decent and had been playing schools chess for years. I thought <insert name here> played at something like 1200 strength in winning this event, which by local standards (with very limited coaching and competition) suggests serious natural talent. I was even more amazed when I asked <insert name here> when he learnt to play chess and he said "About four months ago."

<insert name here> was talented in a range of school sports. The year after that, on hitting high school, <insert name here> quit chess to focus on basketball. Currently playing soccer, but only in the city reserves/U21 pennant, not local top division yet. Certainly hasn't moved a pawn in competition since winning that title. :(

I'd like to hear people's opinions on juniors focusing on physical sport to the extent that their chess is harmed or abandoned altogether. Most of what I have here is questions. Questions like:

* How much of this sort of thing goes on?

* Is it more a problem with males than females, vice versa or neither?

* Does it go the other way (juniors quitting sport to focus on their chess)? If so, is there a heavy price to pay?

* In some cases, a decision to give up one sport for another makes sense, if the person has better prospects in the sport they focus on. Given that chess has the competitive participation rates it has and very few players become professionals, at what point does such a decision "make sense" in purely sporting terms? What are the real cricket, swimming or Aussie Rules equivalents of being, say, rated 1800 at age 13?

* I'd assume that if the decision doesn't "make sense" in pure sporting terms, the factors are the usual ones (peer pressure, Aussie social attitudes, schools not valuing chess enough) or that the student simply likes the other sport more despite being less "good" at it. Can anyone add any other reasons to these?

And lastly the completely pointless question:

* If this is a problem (what I mention may just be an isolated case) can anything be done about it?

Kevin Bonham
21-02-2004, 11:45 PM
From the thread this came out of:


I think it's taken for granted because it's compulsory.

I don't know how much the compulsory nature of school sport at some schools forces students to give up chess time, and if this ever seriously affects people's ability to play chess. So this is another question - is this a problem?

If it is, I reckon chess should go in hard against it. I'd suggest how hard, but I want to see if it's an issue first.

Rincewind
22-02-2004, 12:21 AM
The following is all my own conjecture and not based no any emperical knowledge in this area...

As chess doesn't make serious money unless you are a member of the genuinely super elite (top 20 gobally at a minimum I would guess) then on a financial level nearly every other sport beats it hands down. If you are at least as good at golf, tennis, swimming, football, etc. Then it is a no-brainer.

I would certainly expect that Australia's obsession with physical prowess would also have an effect but the worldwide obsession with financial success would have at least as large an impact. As they say, money isn't everything but it sure eases the pain of being unhappy.

Personally I'd advise anyone faced with that dilemma (giving up one or more sports to concentrate on just one) to be true to themselves and do what they enjoy. 50% of the time it will not be chess but I expect the rate of chess take up to be well below 50% due to a combination of financial and peer-group pressures.

jase
22-02-2004, 12:31 AM
I think sport is a brilliant developmental tool for everyone, especially kids. Physical activity is regarded as an important developmental component of education. I can agree with you that it's at odds with chess.

Public high schools [in NSW] usually allocate a mid-week afternoon for sport, with no classes after lunch. Private schools prefer not to cut into class time, and thus schedule their sport for Saturday mornings.

I might be criticised for gross generalisations were I to comment on the fitness and/or general physical well-being of chessplayers. Ditto were I to comment on chessplayers' communication and socialising skills [cf: any chess tournament, this bulletin board]. Perhaps this sub-culture wagged sport days when their peers were learning to play in teams...

Perhaps it is school itself that is "seriously effect[ing] people's ability to play chess". Should we "go in hard" against compulsory schooling, if it is? Maybe you could propose "homework-free Wednesdays" so that there is enough time in the day for some chess study? Zong-Yuan Zhao took last year off chess to concentrate on his schooling, holding back his chess. Perhaps that could be your landmark case.

Kevin Bonham
22-02-2004, 01:23 AM
Ditto were I to comment on chessplayers' communication and socialising skills [cf: any chess tournament, this bulletin board]. Perhaps this sub-culture wagged sport days when their peers were learning to play in teams...

Or perhaps some showed less aptitude for sport from a very early age and were then ostracised from genuine teamwork for that reason alone, or some other irrelevant reason? Not a very nice experience being always one of the last few picked when the class is asked to divide into two teams, or having team-mates say they wished you weren't on their side because you'd only make them lose, but I bet it's one quite a lot of chessplayers would go through as children. Others, however, are completely fit and "normal".

I'm guilty as charged to a degree though - I didn't mind most normal phys. ed lessons and I wasn't a total lost cause but I certainly found reasons to avoid both house sport and school sport.

This is getting a little off-track though, I'm not saying sport is useless, I'm just questioning the extent to which focus on it harms chess.


Perhaps it is school itself that is "seriously effect[ing] people's ability to play chess". Should we "go in hard" against compulsory schooling, if it is? Maybe you could propose "homework-free Wednesdays" so that there is enough time in the day for some chess study? Zong-Yuan Zhao took last year off chess to concentrate on his schooling, holding back his chess. Perhaps that could be your landmark case.

Schooling's far more important IMHO, sport won't be more than a pastime for most. Anyone who drops school for chess, unless they were already a GM, would be taking a serious risk; whenever I think of such a thing I remember Kotov's comments about the piteous nature of "unrecognised talents". However I do wonder if schools would be as allowing of someone wanting to skip school to play a chess tournament as someone wanting to skip school to play high-level sport. Is this an issue? I don't know.

jase
22-02-2004, 01:36 AM
However I do wonder if schools would be as allowing of someone wanting to skip school to play a chess tournament as someone wanting to skip school to play high-level sport. Is this an issue? I don't know.

Chess is going gangbusters at the junior level, hence my mildly incredulous tone in response to your posts.

Schools grant students time off to attend tournaments; there are quite a few schools teams tournaments organised on school days, with selected squads getting out of school for the day.

PHAT
22-02-2004, 09:13 AM
Without quoting:

KB, your question is realy about life choices - how do we make them, why do we choose X? Obviously, if we apply this questioning to mind-sport V physical-sport, we could have a huge thread with lots of arguement. But that would be missing the deeper point. What motivates and deters us - in this case brain V brawn.

"Normal" people love being with people, and hate being alone. (But before some joker wants to pick holes in this generalisation, I will say that we all know the cliches of "alone in a crowded room" , "busy with my memories".) This "all alone" argument is only motivator. As has been pointed out other motivators are money and prestege and peers and parents and and and.

Frankly, any solution to the "problem" of chess participation will not be solved by nullifying any of the motivators of human behaviour - that is an unwinable battle.

So, the solution(s)?

More team events.
Bigger prize money therefore
More prestege, therefore
Peer pressure to stay in chess ....

However, more money comes with prestege and prestege comes from money (unfortunately). Chicken and egg.

peanbrain
22-02-2004, 10:51 AM
So, the solution(s)?

More team events.
Bigger prize money therefore
More prestege, therefore
Peer pressure to stay in chess ....

However, more money comes with prestege and prestege comes from money (unfortunately). Chicken and egg.

So tell us matt - are you the chicken or the egg?! :wall:

jenni
22-02-2004, 10:57 AM
The problem is you are trying to make a cultural change. Australians like sport. They like to kick balls, throw them and hit them in every shape or form. Our kids are exposed to it all from an early age at school, in the parks, on the beach - it just surrounds them. Our climate encourages that - we just don't have the long cold winters wher you need to stay in doors.

Our heros are sporting heros, our Australian of the year is normally a sportsperson. It is very hard to counter that message!

When I was in the Ukraine I went into a shop in Yalta - there was a sports section and chess boards were lined up with the balls and other gear - that just doesn't happen in Australia. I kind of hope that in a generation or two chess might be more acceptable. Chess Sets do seem to be more generally visible in shops in Canberra than they were 10 years ago.

I have seen the same thing that Kevin has - really talented kids giving up chess for sport, where they have to make a choice, which most kids do when they get to High school. However chess is not alone. Many sports bemoan the drop out rate at high school. In primary school you will find kids will play as many sports as they can cram in. In High School it has to start being cut back.

It is understandable when someone who is capable of being a top chess person, chooses to be an elite swimmer or tennis player (money!). I also find it frustrating when a child who could be winning titles gives up chess to play in a 3rd rate soccer or basketball team. However I have seen this a bit with Gareth - he really enjoys playing basketball with his mates and he comes off the court really happy and chatting and socialising and I thnk that is what he gets out of the game as much as the fun of basketing the ball.

His school has a policy that you have to attend all training sessions and matches and every year when I fill in his registration form, I put in big writing that he is an elite chess player and so will have to miss some games. Unfortunately he is quite good at basketball and he tends to be missed when he doesn't play, so it is a constant juggle between playing chess and not letting his friends down by missing a match.

I did the same thing when Tamzin went to audition for a band at her new high school. They actually cross questioned her in her audition about her commitment to chess and the head of music came out and questioned me after the audition as to how much her chess was going to interfere with her music commitment!

In the ACT all our schools comps are held in school time and we haven't found that schools have a problem withe letting teams attend. There is starting to be a little problem in that with less money in schools it is getting harder for them to send a teacher e.g we have just had one school say they will enter the Open primary, as they will send 20 kids and can justify the cost of a teacher, but won't send girls' teams as they would only send 8 kids and that is too little to allow them to send a supervisor.

Initially my kids' high school did not recognise chess very much - it was an activity that happened but had no formal recognition. Now it does have the same staus as other "minor" co-curricular. i.e There is a captain of chess and braids and half-braids are awarded annually. I think there should be a push in all the schools that have this sort of thing to make sure that chess is recognised along with other sports and activities.

Like Jase I think chess is growing among school kids and I think this is where the push should be and there just has to be a level of patience, as it takes a long time to change cultures.

As far as chess and school work goes this is much more of a problem as the kids who are good at chess tend to be academicaly able. I do think there is too much of a paranoia about chess affecting academic performance. Where someone absolutely needs a very high UAI (like Yuan), then I think they have to give up chess and concentrate on school work. However I do believe too many kids are giving it up to get a UAI much higher than what they need.

Shannon was in the fortunate position of knwoing fairly early on what she wanted to do and that she only needed a UAI of 90. She thus kept her chess going (including a fairly large coaching commitment,as she coached for the ACT development squad and also coached the St Monica's girls team weekly for 2 years - on a voluntary basis). She went overseas twice in that period, including for a month just before her final exams. The school was not happy about the second one and we got a warning letter saying they would not be responsible for any drop in her final UAI. She obviously did drop as a result, but she still ended up with a UAI nearely 6 points more than what she needed. Shannon is a bright girl, but not brilliant, so I think if she could keep it all going and still get that kind of UAI, I really wonder if it is that necessary to drop everything in year 11 and 12 as so many kids do.

One final thing that has not been raised here. I find that what causes as many problems for chess as sport and school work, is working. So many kids seem to take on part time jobs (even when there is no financial hardship). In fact I have had parents pretty much tell me my kids will be unemployable because they haven't already got work experience behind a counter (!!). Working is an absolute killer for kids participating in the very many weekend tournaments the ACTJCL holds.

Garvinator
22-02-2004, 11:31 AM
One final thing that has not been raised here. I find that what causes as many problems for chess as sport and school work, is working. So many kids seem to take on part time jobs (even when there is no financial hardship). In fact I have had parents pretty much tell me my kids will be unemployable because they haven't already got work experience behind a counter (!!). Working is an absolute killer for kids participating in the very many weekend tournaments the ACTJCL holds.
Jenni, the reality of life today in the job market is that if you dont have previous job experience in the field you are looking for, then it is almost impossible to get a half decent job. So as depressing at it sounds, those that have told you this about being unemployable is pretty accurate.
Your children will get asked in job interviews about previous job experience, can they cite examples where they did this and that and if they cant then they wont be hearing back from the employer. Is this unfair, absolutely, but it is no fun being right but being unemployed :(

jenni
22-02-2004, 11:53 AM
Jenni, the reality of life today in the job market is that if you dont have previous job experience in the field you are looking for, then it is almost impossible to get a half decent job. So as depressing at it sounds, those that have told you this about being unemployable is pretty accurate.
Your children will get asked in job interviews about previous job experience, can they cite examples where they did this and that and if they cant then they wont be hearing back from the employer. Is this unfair, absolutely, but it is no fun being right but being unemployed :(
I don't disagree that experience in the field you are looking for is essential. I would hope that once my kids have started at Uni, if they can get some experience in their fields then they should.

What I have trouble with is the working at Macdonalds or Pure and Natural or whatever that so many of the chess kids do (and then drop out of chess). From my experience chess kids tend to choose fields in Medicine, Law, Science, IT etc - it is hard to see what relevance these jobs have to their later careers.

Shannon is doing Medical Science - I do not feel she will be unemployable because she has failed to serve fast food.

Most of the kids are working to afford their truly horrendous mobile phone bills, and it is sad to see them giving up chess in order to afford more glitzy consumer goods. Not happy with creating stressed and over worked adults, we seem to be creating stressed and over worked 14 and 15 year olds who will never understand the value of free time and hobbies!

arosar
22-02-2004, 12:11 PM
Jenni, the reality of life today in the job market is that if you dont have previous job experience in the field you are looking for, then it is almost impossible to get a half decent job.

Don't be ridiculous. She's talking about the usual teenage gig of working at Maccas or some crappy job like that. I reckon Mrs Oliver's right. There's no need for 'em high school teenagers to get a job. Concentrate on schooling. Only when they go to uni should they get a job as time tends to be a little be more manageable then - I think. Also, if you have good family support, no need for teens to get a job too.

AR

PHAT
22-02-2004, 01:07 PM
So tell us matt - are you the chicken or the egg?! :wall:

I am the birth cannal.

PHAT
22-02-2004, 01:32 PM
I have seen this a bit with Gareth - he really enjoys playing basketball with his mates and he comes off the court really happy and chatting and socialising and I thnk that is what he gets out of the game as much as the fun of basketing the ball.


Sounds like a good argument for having lots of ClubTeam events.


One final thing that has not been raised here. I find that what causes as many problems for chess as sport and school work, is working. So many kids seem to take on part time jobs (even when there is no financial hardship). ... Working is an absolute killer for kids participating in the very many weekend tournaments the ACTJCL holds.

Too right Jenni ! And there is too much emphysis on winning and getting a place at Uni and cool shades and SMS messaging and being first in the class and having a six pack or androgenous thighs and a DVD burner. Can someone please tell Ronald Yu and all the Ronald Yu wannabes to relax and maybe play some chess.

ursogr8
22-02-2004, 01:35 PM
What I have trouble with is the working at Macdonalds or Pure and Natural or whatever that so many of the chess kids do (and then drop out of chess). From my experience chess kids tend to choose fields in Medicine, Law, Science, IT etc - it is hard to see what relevance these jobs have to their later careers.

Shannon is doing Medical Science - I do not feel she will be unemployable because she has failed to serve fast food.



hi jenni
Just a couple of data points.
I have two girls, one 29 and the other 24. Both teriary qualified, both had mid-teens at Maccas. The customer-service training, and experience, they received there has been crucial to picking up later part-time and full-time jobs. How ever much much we may deride 'and will you have fries with that' it is a great education that gives a terrific customer-oriented advantage.
I have a 26 year old son. tertiary qualified. Could not get a job for 12 months after graduation (even offering to work free for 2 months probation). The two girls got him his first job by their word of mouth.
And by the way I prefer Greasy Jos to Maccas.
starter

Kevin Bonham
22-02-2004, 04:35 PM
Chess is going gangbusters at the junior level, hence my mildly incredulous tone in response to your posts.

I actually think your mildly incredulous tone is down to reading answers where I'm only asking questions. :p


Schools grant students time off to attend tournaments; there are quite a few schools teams tournaments organised on school days, with selected squads getting out of school for the day.

Yes, I assumed most schools would be pretty good about this, I'm interested to know if there are any who have been a problem.

PHAT
22-02-2004, 04:43 PM
Jase has taken me to task over my exchange with Ronald Yu. Part of a PM Jase sent to me is below. It says little that Jase has not already put, but I think I should make a more public reply. I think that this thread is going toward an important aspect of why juniors drop out.


You've very little idea of the demands placed on senior high school kids. It's markedly different to when you were at school. There's plenty of educational psychology you could read up on to confirm this point, as you should if you want to make an informed opinion.


Actually, Jase, I have a very good idea of years 11 and 12, I have three chemistry classes of them on my books for this year. And the material is a lot easier than when I/we was doing it 25 years ago. Nevertheless, I realy do know the stress they are under and I know that it is society that is inducing that stress. However, young blokes like RY should be taken aside and told to stop worrying about failure, because young blokes like him will do just fine in life.

As for his future contributions to the BB, it is a matter of maturity. As he finds his feet, he will feel more confident in telling me to f... off - and he should, if he thinks I am full of crap.

PHAT
22-02-2004, 04:51 PM
hi jenni
Just a couple of data points.
I have two girls, one 29 and the other 24. Both teriary qualified, both had mid-teens at Maccas. ...I have a 26 year old son. tertiary qualified. Could not get a job for 12 months after graduation (even offering to work free for 2 months probation). The two girls got him his first job by their word of mouth.


I would rather see my kids work as strippers than degrade themselves in front of the disgusting-low-lifes who eat Maca's. They would get better money and learn valuable lessons in human behavior.

ursogr8
22-02-2004, 07:11 PM
I would rather see my kids work as strippers than degrade themselves in front of the disgusting-low-lifes who eat Maca's. They would get better money and learn valuable lessons in human behavior.

Yeh, well Ok Matt. That is your point of view.
All I was doing was providing a piece of real data to jenni. The fact is that the customer-service training, that used to be available from Maccas, has been a rewarding experience for my two girls that has been beneficial for many later job applications and personal dealings in the work-place.
I am not defending the behaviour of Maccas customers; although I am surprised by you turning to 'avoidance mechanisms' (i.e. work as strippers instead) rather than meet the challenge head-on. But perhaps this (avoidance mechanism for child development) was another of your New year Resolutions previously unrevealed.
And yes it doesn't earn much. Agreed.
But again, all I was trying to do is show jenni that there were benefits to be counted too.

Or, did you just want to say strongly "I ,(MS) ,don't like Maccas".

starter

Garvinator
22-02-2004, 07:18 PM
the main point about having a job as a teenager is that it gives the said teenager two things unis dont give, a reliable job history and checkable referees. those are completely essential in the hunt for a full time job.

PHAT
22-02-2004, 08:09 PM
Or, did you just want to say strongly "I ,(MS) ,don't like Maccas".


[I've been sprung :doh: ]

The food it yuk.
The concept of "fast food" is the antithesis of civilized life.
The wages are unconscionably low.

ursogr8
22-02-2004, 08:16 PM
[I've been sprung :doh: ]

The food it yuk.
The concept of "fast food" is the antithesis of civilized life.
The wages are unconscionably low.

On this we can agree.

JGB
22-02-2004, 08:20 PM
:p Sorry but I find the question pretty irrelevant. I think people who leave chess with or withour natural talent do it because they dont get the enjoyment out of it that perhaps you or I get from a game. Its nothing to worry about when someone leaves chess to pursue another sport, in fact its good; their taking up a sport which apeals more this person involved. If it were not the case then late in life the former chess player will return to competion. Natural talent is pretty useless if you dont have a striving desire to better your game and a love for chess. Other than that most other sports have much better prospects that chess, how many Australians can earn a living from chess? Compared to the training involved its pretty crazy to expect many young players to decided on chess over another sport.

I guess for me when I played up to year 12 in school is was great and fun but it was always just a 'board game'. So my long distance running comitments took over and only about 7 years later did I really get back into chess, only beacuse I have a desire to better my game and am completly fasinated by chess and love competion play!

James

firegoat7
22-02-2004, 09:25 PM
Really sport and chess do not have to be mutually exclusive. GM Agdestein is an example of somebody who has been able to combine both at the highest levels. In a balanced society we would be able to find time for a little of both.

The comments about schooling are interesting. I do agree we place to much emphasis on results in year 11 and 12, stressing out young people in the process. The real problem probably is the way we structure education for people. Education ought to be for life,not just a stepping stone to vocational success. So the key question might be, Is high school about learning or an attempt by society to control young peoples behaviour from an early age?

This brings us to the Macdonalds question. It is well documented that people who can tolerate Macdonalds work are more employable then those who cannot. Macdonalds is very good training for corporate work. However, most Macdonalds employees are accutely aware of the tedious conformity and rationality such work provides. Taylorism and Fordism go hand in hand with Macdonalds work. The key question here might be is this really work? or is it an attempt to socially condition society into accepting unreasonable norms and thus destroying the enchantment of life. No doubt, everybody has there own opinion on such questions. One thing however remains true. When your in charge of the means of production you can segment labour into basically any divison you want.
regards FG7

Garvinator
22-02-2004, 10:43 PM
Really sport and chess do not have to be mutually exclusive.

hmm interesting, jenni used a similar phrase in one of her posts too. I think paul S post about the biggest problem in chess has just been moved to number two in terms of problems for our sport.

I have heard now two of our more experienced organisers, firegoat and Jenni say that sport and chess dont have to be mutually exclusive.

I thought we all believed that chess is a SPORT and deserves as much recognition as cricket, aussie rules etc etc. I think we have just found one the main reasons chess struggles for recognition. even our top administrators dont believe in their heart that chess is a sport.

Doesnt these two comments just show what a mountain those that believe chess is a real sport are trying to climb. :(

jase
22-02-2004, 10:58 PM
Actually, Jase, I have a very good idea of years 11 and 12, I have three chemistry classes of them on my books for this year. And the material is a lot easier than when I/we was doing it 25 years ago.

Ahh, the old "In my day we used to lick road clean with tongue" chestnut. In the teaching disciplines I'm trained in the work is a little more demanding than it was in the 80s [but students are also better resourced generally speaking].

I wonder if your response to students complaining of heavy workloads is "poor poor diddums ... you cannot manage your life".


However, young blokes like RY should be taken aside and told to stop worrying about failure, because young blokes like him will do just fine in life.

It's all very well to take this view now that school is just a distant memory, but senior high school and uni can have a pretty big bearing on the path people take. That Ronald's path isn't taking in this year's City of Sydney seems pretty sensible to me [though I think it's great that the NSWCA is trying different formats].

The thrust of my PM to Matt, since he's happy to quote it, is that arrogant and/or insulting posts are greatly limiting the readership and effectiveness of this forum. Few people read it because of goons who elect to dish out smart-arse remarks instead of sticking to the topic and making contructive points.


As he finds his feet, he will feel more confident in telling me to f... off - and he should, if he thinks I am full of crap.

You just don't get it. He should be allowed to find his feet, encouraged to participate [I can think of 3 people as I type this that you've turned off this forum - given the number of regular contributors here, I could ask around and probably come up with a quorum] and not resort to insults if he doesn't agree with your point of view.

Kevin Bonham
23-02-2004, 12:24 AM
I've started a Maccas thread, with poll, in the off-topic area. Not saying people who might want to continue discussing the value of work vs chess shouldn't continue here, but a lot of things I wanted to say about Maccas are more or less completely off-topic.

jenni
23-02-2004, 08:04 AM
hmm interesting, jenni used a similar phrase in one of her posts too. I think paul S post about the biggest problem in chess has just been moved to number two in terms of problems for our sport.

I have heard now two of our more experienced organisers, firegoat and Jenni say that sport and chess dont have to be mutually exclusive.

I thought we all believed that chess is a SPORT and deserves as much recognition as cricket, aussie rules etc etc. I think we have just found one the main reasons chess struggles for recognition. even our top administrators dont believe in their heart that chess is a sport.

Doesnt these two comments just show what a mountain those that believe chess is a real sport are trying to climb. :(

Ok this is true - I do think of physical sport and the "mind Sports". To be quite honest chess sits uncomfortably with football and the others. What we are really saying is that physical sport is such a bandwagon in terms of recognition, publicity and money that we want to climb on it.

I hold the line when dealing with politicians and school people, but in a forum like this my beliefs slip out! I also don't consider gymnastics a sport and a few others, but they have successfully climbed on the bandwagon, so why not chess.

2 years ago I made a presentation to Schoolsports ACT on why chess should be recognised as a school sport. There were some school reps at the meeting who had a lot of trouble with the concept. Fortunately the chairwoman was a diehard chess supporter! However I was struggling to get chess accepted and on the schoolsport calendar until I used the concept mindsport (also unfortunately used by the IOC to exclude bridge and chess from the Olympics). The teachers present were really happy with this idea - they understood it, it made sense and they were quite happy at that point to vote for chess to be accepted as a school sport.

So when I talk about sport and chess, I do believe chess has many of hte characteristics of sport - the training, the skill, the dedication and the heartbreak. However I suppose 'sport" for me is that sweaty stuff, which usually involves treating an inanimate object with some violence.

Incidentally I understand that similar school sports organisations exist in all states and I would be interested in hearing how many other states have been successful in getting chess recognised as a school sport. I have always believed that in order to change a culture you have to start from the grassroots. It seems to me if every state officially recognised chess as a school sport, then it would be possible to get chess into things like the Pacific school games. Once that has been achieved, there will be large numbers of future sports administrators who would grow up believing chess is a sport.

My incredibly energetic publicity person, Libby Smith, also puts the ACTJCL into every sport and rec industry award that she can think of. When we go to the award luncheons we tend to get a strange response from some of the other sporting people we sit with, however it has been another opportunity to sell the chess message. I don't know whether other states have similar awards, but another thing to think about.

arosar
23-02-2004, 08:33 AM
This brings us to the Macdonalds question. It is well documented that people who can tolerate Macdonalds work are more employable then those who cannot.

I'm curious. By whom?


When your in charge of the means of production you can segment labour into basically any divison you want.

You're not a Marxist, are you matey?

AR

chesslover
23-02-2004, 04:38 PM
I don't know how much the compulsory nature of school sport at some schools forces students to give up chess time, and if this ever seriously affects people's ability to play chess. So this is another question - is this a problem?

If it is, I reckon chess should go in hard against it. I'd suggest how hard, but I want to see if it's an issue first.

But this is also a problem that is faced by sports that are more"professional" and "bigger" than chess.

In certain places if you are a follower of league, what do you do if the sport that the school plays is AFL? If there is a critical mass of players wanting to play League, then the school will have league as a sport for their school.

That is why there is a battle for the "hearts and minds" of children and school administrators going on in NSW and Queensland, between the development officers of AFL, League and now Union.

The more schools that have as it's mainstream sport, League/AFL/Union, the more teh code will benefit as more juniors join,, parents take interest, government gives development money, sponsorships take place, marketing power grows and interest in the elite comp surges

chesslover
23-02-2004, 04:55 PM
The problem is you are trying to make a cultural change. Australians like sport. They like to kick balls, throw them and hit them in every shape or form. Our kids are exposed to it all from an early age at school, in the parks, on the beach - it just surrounds them. Our climate encourages that - we just don't have the long cold winters wher you need to stay in doors.

Our heros are sporting heros, our Australian of the year is normally a sportsperson. It is very hard to counter that message!

Many sports bemoan the drop out rate at high school. In primary school you will find kids will play as many sports as they can cram in. In High School it has to start being cut back.

It is understandable when someone who is capable of being a top chess person, chooses to be an elite swimmer or tennis player (money!). I also find it frustrating when a child who could be winning titles gives up chess to play in a 3rd rate soccer or basketball team. However I have seen this a bit with Gareth - he really enjoys playing basketball with his mates and he comes off the court really happy and chatting and socialising and I thnk that is what he gets out of the game as much as the fun of basketing the ball.

His school has a policy that you have to attend all training sessions and matches and every year when I fill in his registration form, I put in big writing that he is an elite chess player and so will have to miss some games. Unfortunately he is quite good at basketball and he tends to be missed when he doesn't play, so it is a constant juggle between playing chess and not letting his friends down by missing a match.

As far as chess and school work goes this is much more of a problem as the kids who are good at chess tend to be academicaly able. I do think there is too much of a paranoia about chess affecting academic performance. Where someone absolutely needs a very high UAI (like Yuan), then I think they have to give up chess and concentrate on school work. However I do believe too many kids are giving it up to get a UAI much higher than what they need.

One final thing that has not been raised here. I find that what causes as many problems for chess as sport and school work, is working. So many kids seem to take on part time jobs (even when there is no financial hardship). In fact I have had parents pretty much tell me my kids will be unemployable because they haven't already got work experience behind a counter (!!). Working is an absolute killer for kids participating in the very many weekend tournaments the ACTJCL holds.

Good post Jenni

A couple of points

1. You also have to look at the influence of media and development efforts on the choice of sports that kids play. Sports such as cricket, league, AFL are on TV a lot, and most kids grow up wanting to be like Ponting, Warne, Fitler or Johns. The US sports, such as Basketball and US Football are very popular in schools, and many kids want to grow up wanting to be like Michael Jordon, Sahquille O'neil etc etc. Thus it is natural that these kids choose these "mainstream" and "popular" sports in relation to chess. How many kids do you know that want to grow up to be like Ian Rogers or Gary Lane or daryl?

In addition the sports that dominate australian sporting scene has development squads to foster and promote their sport amongs schools and kids. Cricket Australia, AFL and the Rugby League for example have full time staff whose sole function is to develop their respective codes, and they even have sponsorship money to do this.

Chess simply cannot compete

2. As for many people playing a lot of sports in primary, and less in high school that is a fact of life. You study a lot of subjects, in Year 10 you cut back and in year 12 you cut back more - focusing on subjects that you liek and/or you need as prerequisites for the uni study you want to undertake. Thus at high school, chess has to compete against other "cool" and "mainstream" sports

3. As for UAI, it depends on what you want to do in Uni. SOme kids may know what they want to do, and hence the approximate UAI that they need. Others do not, and for these kids it is best to get the highest UAI that they can possibly get, as that will give them more options on what they want to do.

4. Getting a part time job whilst at school and uni I think is a good thing. By working in places like McDonalds, kids learn about responsibility, accountability and learn vital life skills. Sure this again means that chess may be the loser, but chess is not life and the be all and end all

Kevin Bonham
23-02-2004, 05:34 PM
4. Getting a part time job whilst at school and uni I think is a good thing. By working in places like McDonalds, kids learn about responsibility, accountability and learn vital life skills. Sure this again means that chess may be the loser, but chess is not life and the be all and end all

I agree with this, though they'd probably learn more about accountability and responsibility in a job that required more actual initiative. I would not advise any junior player to choose chess over a part-time job unless that junior player was clearly on the path to becoming a strong IM, at least.

chesslover
23-02-2004, 06:01 PM
I agree with this, though they'd probably learn more about accountability and responsibility in a job that required more actual initiative. I would not advise any junior player to choose chess over a part-time job unless that junior player was clearly on the path to becoming a strong IM, at least.

who do you think will earn more money?

an IM who makes his/her living from prizemoney or a part time worker at McDonald's? :p :p

Kevin Bonham
23-02-2004, 08:17 PM
an IM who makes his/her living from prizemoney or a part time worker at McDonald's? :p :p

An IM can also make money out of coaching, so :p to you too.

jenni
23-02-2004, 08:32 PM
I agree with this, though they'd probably learn more about accountability and responsibility in a job that required more actual initiative. I would not advise any junior player to choose chess over a part-time job unless that junior player was clearly on the path to becoming a strong IM, at least.

Well I would (unless they were in financial straits and really needed the money). We don't value free time any more. I would always advise a junior player to choose chess over work (or cricket over work, or even stamp collecting over work), until they got to Uni. Once they get to Uni, I think they have enough time to balance part-time work, Uni and hobbies/social life without getting stressed.

I wouldn't look at it from the point of view of what they can earn as a chess-player vs a job - most of us play as a hobby.

There are many ways to learn responsibility, accountability and life skills - it doesn't have to be through paid employment.

If you read any of the workplace research, a rising complaint is the hours they are expected to work. The whole idea of automation/computers was supposed to be to create more free time, but we just seem to work longer and longer hours.

Kevin Bonham
23-02-2004, 09:01 PM
Well I would (unless they were in financial straits and really needed the money). We don't value free time any more. I would always advise a junior player to choose chess over work (or cricket over work, or even stamp collecting over work), until they got to Uni. Once they get to Uni, I think they have enough time to balance part-time work, Uni and hobbies/social life without getting stressed.

Which makes one wonder why more students don't do it successfully. For many at Uni it's a case of either hobbies or a social life. It depends on the course though, the actual workloads of different courses vary enormously.

I didn't express myself very well in the above - in saying I wouldn't advise someone to choose chess over job experience, I wasn't saying I'd advise against it. I'd say "it's your decision". Cue Matt to jump in and take a free swing at me for not being a parent and hence not knowing what I'm talking about. :eek:

PHAT
23-02-2004, 10:15 PM
Cue Matt to jump in and take a free swing at me for not being a parent and hence not knowing what I'm talking about. :eek:

I doooooo like a boy who self administers his own thrashing.

chesslover
23-02-2004, 10:24 PM
ANother ting to note is that the choice between part time work and hobbies is not mutually exclusive

In the past women were told that they should get married, have kids and look after them and not work. After the sexual revolution, women were told that they should not be ruled by the obsolete rules of patricarchy, and should work and look after themselves. There is a lot of confusion today between these choices for women - work or family? However it is all about the right balance, and sharing responsibility for brininging up the children. You CAN have a work career and you CAN have quality family time. It is all about time management and balance.

Similarly kids CAN work part time, and they CAN pursue any hobbies that they choose - be it chess or league or cricket.

However the question is which sport? which hobby? it is unrelistic to expect kids to have a part time job, and then numerous hobbies/sports. Life is full of choices and decisions, and deciding which of their sports/hobbies to forgo to earn money part time is just a part of life

Kevin Bonham
23-02-2004, 10:42 PM
I doooooo like a boy who self administers his own thrashing.

What would you advise - assuming the choice was between strengthening an already strong junior chess career and a job that wasn't just a "McJob".

chesslover
23-02-2004, 11:13 PM
What would you advise - assuming the choice was between strengthening an already strong junior chess career and a job that wasn't just a "McJob".

simple. if it was my child facing that decision

do the job at the expense of ches. Even if it is a "Mcjob" do that job, for you will benefit more in life from that

However the fact that you are working in McDonalds, does not mean that you cannot play chess. It may limit your ability to play all the chess matches that are available, but you can still play SOME of these matches. It will also teach them about choice and the need to make difficult decisions - play a chess weekender and lose $$$$ from not working in McDonalds or not play that chess weekender and earn $$$ from McDonals instead

It also ensures that you have a ready consumer market for chess products. As arosar rightly stated, he contributes to chess by buying a lot of chess products, and having a market of part time working chess savy kids is good, as they have disposable and independent money that could be used for the good of Australian chess as well

PHAT
24-02-2004, 07:04 AM
What would you advise - assuming the choice was between strengthening an already strong junior chess career and a job that wasn't just a "McJob".


I would advise following chess - the road less travelled. Anyone can MacJob anytime, but we rarely get two chances to be really good at something. I am not advocating goals/destinations, I am advocating interesting journies. It's better be a has-been than a never-was.

[Edit] PS. Several of the others on this thread seem to think that maintaining an "employment trajectory" is paramount. I cannot wholey agree. I think maintaining "employability" is important. As such, any persuit is good: eg community service, sports coaching, working holidays, garage band, and even a MacJob :sick: . Hence, go with the chess.

Ian Rout
24-02-2004, 08:09 AM
From my year at high school only one person, that I know of, became a professional sportsman, and the same number from the year above. I suspect that would be above the national average.

The economic imperative to pursue other sports rather than chess is undoubtedly there if you are going to be the next Ricky Ponting or Lleyton Hewitt, and participants in sports such as swimming or athletics that used to be strictly amateur, even at the very top, can make a career of it these days. But overall there aren't that many people who make a living from their sporting prowess, unless you count PE teachers (is is still called PE?).

Like Kevin I don't have children but I do know parents, or know people who know parents, whose children engage enthusiastically in sports for which there will be no economic payoff. For instance I heard about one child who is at the Institute of Sport in a lesser-known sport (I think it might have been water polo) and his whole life is obviously organised around his sport. A former co-worker used to get up while sensible people like me were still asleep to take her daughter to swimming training every morning. These and lesser examples are repeated all over the country.

Such kids have little realistic prospect of making a career of their sport, either because of the lack of profitability of the sport or their relatively humble position within it, and I doubt that the thought has even occurred to them. But it doesn't stop them foregoing McDonalds and all manner of other things to pursue achievement in the sport.

So getting back to Kevin's original point I think it is true that talented young chess players are less likely to pursue chess than equally (or less) talented participants in other sports. I suspect this is partly due to the nature of chess but also to the level of encouragement in schools.

As a bit of an aside, as long ago as the late 1970's my brother's high school offered ten-pin bowling as an option for sport. Given the minimal physical activity and complete absence of teamwork this was obviously for those with absolutely no talent or inclination for any other sport. Surely it would have been less effort to form those kids into a chess club.

jenni
24-02-2004, 09:06 AM
I would advise following chess - the road less travelled. Anyone can MacJob anytime, but we rarely get two chances to be really good at something. I am not advocating goals/destinations, I am advocating interesting journies. It's better be a has-been than a never-was.

[Edit] PS. Several of the others on this thread seem to think that maintaining an "employment trajectory" is paramount. I cannot wholey agree. I think maintaining "employability" is important. As such, any persuit is good: eg community service, sports coaching, working holidays, garage band, and even a MacJob :sick: . Hence, go with the chess.
This hurts to admit, but I find I am agreeing with Matt with pretty much (except the stripper bit) everything he has to say on this thread!

PHAT
24-02-2004, 04:49 PM
As a bit of an aside, as long ago as the late 1970's my brother's high school offered ten-pin bowling as an option for sport. ... Surely it would have been less effort to form those kids into a chess club.

It is a bit like the Army not wanting to take the long-term unemployed. These individuals are the kind of individuals who actually chose ten-pin bowling. They are likely to be untrainable.

Kevin Bonham
25-02-2004, 12:50 AM
PS. Several of the others on this thread seem to think that maintaining an "employment trajectory" is paramount. I cannot wholey agree. I think maintaining "employability" is important. As such, any persuit is good: eg community service, sports coaching, working holidays, garage band, and even a MacJob :sick: . Hence, go with the chess.

This is an interesting point.

Next question. What is the employment value of chess on a CV, for a job that is outside chess? I know someone who actually reckons he got a job on his chess playing skills (the employer was a casual chess player and actually asked "Do you play chess?" in the interview - doubtless highly illegal these days). But as a general principle - does simply putting "chess" on a CV help (some people have told me it does) and beyond that, is a certain level of chess success useful on a CV?

I assume that chess organising on a CV helps, since there would be many who would struggle to organise anything.

arosar
25-02-2004, 08:05 AM
But as a general principle - does simply putting "chess" on a CV help (some people have told me it does) and beyond that, is a certain level of chess success useful on a CV?

Including chess under, say, 'Hobbies' or 'Interests' couldn't hurt. My CV, under Interests has, "Search for that perfect cup of espresso, food, wine". I don't have chess listed right now, but I will. By including these other interests, you at least show that you have some kinda life. It's especially helpful with employers who have a healthy attitude to work/life balance principles.

AR

ursogr8
25-02-2004, 08:20 AM
Including chess under, say, 'Hobbies' or 'Interests' couldn't hurt. My CV, under Interests has, "Search for that perfect cup of espresso, food, wine". I don't have chess listed right now, but I will. By including these other interests, you at least show that you have some kinda life. It's especially helpful with employers who have a healthy attitude to work/life balance principles.

AR

AR

Our man that CENTRELINK has formally 'awarded' to us, for give-back while he is out of work, gave me his CV to review and make comments. On page 4 he listed 5 or 6 tournaments that he had won in England. Good impressive amateur events.
I suggested he tone it down to registering an interest in chess (for the reason you typed), and one win...to show capability.

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