Picking up the pieces

This article is directed mainly at chess players who live in or near Ipswich.

There is still a website for the Ipswich Junior Chess Club – but no club exists!

The Club was active until the end of the Summer Term 2011, but has seen little or no activity since then.   The website mentions where and when the Club meets – I wonder how many children have turned up to find no chess club?

Junior Chess Clubs that rely solely on parental support are doomed to failure.   That is the clear evidence from other Suffolk clubs that have folded in living memory.   The Stowmarket Junior Club continued with John Player and Mike Ashman in charge, but John’s son Ed soon outgrew the junior club and Mike sadly passed away.   So seven years after it was formed in 1988, the club folded.   There was a similar experience at Newmarket, when the junior club, run by a parent whose child gave up the game, folded several years ago.

Incidentally, para 27 of the Ipswich Junior Club’s Constitution states: “In the event of the closure of the Club all assets will pass to another Suffolk Junior Club to be decided by the Management Committee.”   Presumably there are a lot of chess sets and clocks sculling around somewhere as they haven’t been allocated to the one remaining junior club in the county, the Bury Knights..

So, all you Ipswich chess-players – what are you going to do about this problem?   If you don’t support a junior club in your town, your club will slowly decline.   As members pass away or leave, there will be no youngsters to take their places.   Other than 12-year old Alex Sheerin, there are no youngsters at the Ipswich Chess Club.

To achieve long-term continuity, a committed person (not a parent) is needed.   Ask amongst your members; there may be someone prepared to take this on.

If the Bury Knights can have 51 members, as at present, then Ipswich has the potential to double that number, given the relative populations of the two towns.

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