Tuesday 24 November 2015

English chess under the spotlight

The article "Grandmaster crash: The inside story of how English chess pawned its future"  has caused a bit of a stir in English chess circles. Coming soon after a somewhat bizarre AGM (mentioned in the article), it highlights the effect that problems with the English Chess Federation have on English chess itself.
Written by Stephen Moss from the Guardian (who is an active player as well), it has already attracted a bit of blowback in the English Chess Forum, as well as some choice comments below the story itself.
I might be tempted to draw parallels with the Australian chess scene, but in all honesty I would struggle to. The governance systems are different (although Nigel Short's comments on small organisations ring true), but the major reason is that Australia never fell from any great heights in the first place. The ACF has always been a "limited government" style organisation, so the list of things it has failed to do well is actually quite small.
I suspect this will probably blow over in a week or two, and it will be business as usual. Those involved will point out that their small bit of English chess is running well, extrapolate that to "what needs to be improved" and potentially miss the broader picture.

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