How is it that 40 children attend the weekly Bury Knights Junior Chess Club, whilst the Ipswich Junior Chess Club has folded due to lack of interest? Compare the size of town: Bury St Edmunds’ population is about 35,000, whilst Ipswich has some 135,000 inhabitants. That’s nearly four times bigger. Ipswich should therefore have some 150 children clamouring to play chess.
Let’s face it; the problem comes down to lack of interest NOT by the children, but by adult chess players. A junior chess club in a town the size of Ipswich is perfectly viable. It just needs someone with that spark of enthusiasm to get it going.
One of Ipswich’s best juniors, currently, is 11-year old Alex Sheerin (graded 121). And where does he come to play chess every Friday evening? All the way to the Bury Knights. It’s crazy: he should be able to go to a junior club in his home town, rather than have to make a weekly 50-mile round trip.
So here’s a challenge to Ipswich-based adult chess players. If you want chess to survive in your town, get the Junior Club up and running again. Don’t leave it to others; stand up and do something about it!
By the way, the club’s website is still active, although the information there is way out of date.