Monday, April 22, 2013

A New Chess Club

Will the internet, lower FIDE rating levels leading to more internationally rated events, added costs etc, lead to the death of the good old fashioned chess club? I remember when the 4NCL was being introduced into the UK, there were doom mongers moaning of the end of club, league and county chess. Well, there may have been a drop off in numbers playing these events, but that may have happened anyway, without the help of a new professional (semi at least) chess league and a big weekend circuit.

To be honest, I'm not sure. I think there will always be players who want to go out and play against other people, to meet other players, to exchange ideas face to face, and to participate in a social environment. Since my drop out from FIDE rated chess, I've had times when I've missed the buzz of playing in a tournament, of going to the club and hanging out with like minded people. And my location in Melbourne doesn't help as I live in an area a fair way from any chess club.

So I got my head together with Chess kids owner David Cordover who lives not too far from me, and we decided to start a new chess club in this area. Glen Eira Chess Club will open to the public this Friday with a junior club starting at 6 pm and an adult club at 7 pm. Actually, we've been talking about it for about a year, but we (David mainly) finally got our act together and have taken the plunge to start it.

So what do we want our chess club to be like? Well first and foremost we want it to be a social venue, a place where people are happy to come along and play some games of chess. We want to offer a combination of fun and friendly chess, rated chess and social evenings (an end of year prize giving sounds like a great excuse for a get together). We want to take the chess club back to its roots. I can imagine seeing a couple of stalwarts playing Kriegspiel on one side, some blitz games happening with a notice board of events in the background and, eventually, an honour's board. We'd like to see our club challenge other clubs to matches, and to take part in any leagues in the Melbourne area. We don't want to offer coaching (that's our job and we're going to the club for relaxation and to enjoy ourselves!) but we are encouraging players to "share their chess wisdom"!

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We have a temporary venue at a nearby school (Tucker Road Primary), but we're looking to move up in the world to a nicer home eventually and maybe even build the club to a membership size where we could contemplate applying for a permanent home. Yes, we have big ideas for this club in the long term, but we still want it to remain a local club with the social aspect at its core. As such we are minimising fees and costs to the membership but offering no cash prizes, or we may run one open a year with some cash prizes but that would be it. We are setting up with the old fashioned notions that the majority of players want to play in a friendly environment and are not motivated by cash prizes. If that deters some people from coming along, then fair enough, we can live with that :D

Feel free to check us out any Friday and we'll do our best to make you feel welcome. Once we have an established membership we will be looking at what our players want from the chess club, more tournaments, more social chess, faster time controls, matches, variants etc and trying to give as many people as possible what they want. But the social aspect will be at the forefront of club. Come along this Friday and check out the free homemade ANZAC cookies!

The sort of venue we'd like to play in, Carnegie Library

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic idea Carl! Mitchell is coming along tonight. Good luck with finding a permanent venue! Sue Helm