This weekend I read an interesting blog post from England dealing with chess clubs. Specifically what chess clubs do to thrive "within the digital online chess age". So let's take a look at the list and how it applies to our own Port Coquitlam chess club.
1. Support all levels of chess ability. The PoCo chess club at the moment serves lower-rated seniors. There are very few juniors and I am one of only two chess experts that show up regularly.
2. Create a welcoming atmosphere. I know this is important but I don't attend every Thursday meeting. My Thursday schedule is packed. The senior players that attend regularly are great guys but I don't think they know who is new to the club. Mr. Ed Enns is the key contact.
3. Running lectures and tutorials. A total fail on this point. There is nobody to do and arrange this. I think a certain number of members would be required. I could see simultaneous exhibitions and tournaments. Perhaps guess the move training sessions would be fun. The seniors attending are only interested in skittles. The happily make the same mistakes over and over and play without clocks.
4. Entering multiple leagues and cups. The club used to play in the Vancouver Rapid Chess League but for the 2017-2018 season I was forced to create a new Tri-Cities chess team because I couldn't find enough players from our club. Players that would be strong and committed enough.
5. Supporting juniors. We used to have juniors attending but there wasn't enough attention paid to them. And then the club was demolished and moved to its present location in the hockey arena lobby. This isn't the best arrangement.
Conclusion: The main idea we are told is to focus on making friends. The chess will take care of itself. But in my case, I get to meet FMs and IMs online. So come visit our club on Thursday and see for yourself.
NCM Vas Sladek
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