Sunday, August 4, 2013

Glen Eira Chess Club

Ok, over the past few weeks we made some mistakes in the running of this chess club. We started to build a regular number of visitors each week, and seemed to have a good thing going. Then we moved venue to a nicer space. Unfortunately, we didn't get contact details for our members so couldn't let them know about this. As a result we lost some bodies from the new place. As a result of this, I have decided that the most important thing for a new club is communication, and I'll be trying to write a short, regular newsletter for members to keep them up to date. This week we came close to getting 20 people through the doors which is really the minimum number we will need as a starting point to build the club.

While the venue is excellent, it has a security issue. Carnegie Library, where we play, closes at 6 pm on a Friday, and people cannot enter the building without a key, or unless someone opens the doors for them from inside. This is another issue we will have to overcome if we're to stay at this venue. For the past couple of weeks we have had only a couple of people through the doors, but this week we had enough to start some small round robin events. These will take place over the next 8-10 weeks, with some leeway for players to make up games if they cannot come to the club one night. There are still spots available for anyone who wants to play, and if we get enough players, we can even start another group. The players were roughly divided into playing strength groups, and over the space of time, these groups should establish into an upper and lower group with promotion and relegation. While I like the swiss system, I still prefer the old round robin system for a tournament, and my mind drifts back to my junior days when I'd turn up at the club and there would be a noticeboard with hand drawn crosstables that were gradually filled in throughout the year. Games that weren't played were obviously counted as double zeroes and tournaments could last a whole calendar year! Those were the days :D

The first step in remedying a problem is in identifying it. We have seen the mistakes we've made, and will try to make amends and ensure they don't happen again. Starting a new chess club from scratch is something that everyone at Glen Eira Chess Club is learning how to do. And I've just noticed that our website hasn't been updated with the new venue, which is another job to do!

My first game in our round robin was against a talented junior who is under rated (as they all seem to be) and can probably hold his own at 1400-1600 level. This boy is essentially self taught, has received a minimum of private coaching and just likes to play. Again, this reminds me of how things were in the old days when I was a junior. I managed to win the game, but not without a struggle, and not without chances for my young opponent. Here's the game with light notes.

I had a really enjoyable night on Friday. The games were played in great spirit, things were hard fought but not taken overly seriously, and it was good just chatting with people through the evening. Anyone who wants to come down to the club are very welcome, and we can accommodate everyone from beginners to seasoned tournament players. Generally, the emphasis is on making the club a friendly place to play, but we will be holding tournaments for those who like things to be more competitive. And finally, we are open to ideas, so if you want to be a part of the club, or if you are already a part of the club, what do you want to see happening? We'll do our best to please as many members as possible.

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