Fifteen years ago, there were junior clubs in many locations in the county. The first to open, back in 1988, was Stowmarket, closely followed by Ipswich. Others followed in subsequent years in Gt Cornard, Leiston, Debenham, Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket. By 1997 junior chess in the county was incredibly strong, with many schools supplementing the above clubs.
Now, in 2012, only the Bury Knights continues to thrive. The average attendance this term has been 30, with more than 40 members on the books. These include 17 girls.
The Ipswich Junior Club has not re-commenced this term, due mainly to the business commitments of the organiser, Paul Febvre. He is hoping that the club will open again in the Spring Term, but emphasises that if he is unable to do so (he currently works in Oxford) he will need to hand over the club’s assets to the adult club.
Perhaps some members of the Ipswich Chess Club will step forward now and help Paul to get the club back on its feet. If Bury St Edmunds, with about one quarter of the population of Ipswich, can thrive, then surely it must be possible to maintain a junior club there.