Following the January 2007 advert on the welsh chess website I understand that no coaches had registered in the 10 months following the ad at least - may be more now ?
Do you know why this is ?
There are many competent chess players who coach youngsters in Wales. Some are obviously more competent than others and their coaching "schemes" are left to their own initiative. Why would any of these "coaches" want to pay Ј20 to register with the Welsh Chess Union in order to carry on doing exactly the same job that they are doing now without cost? Those of us who go into schools are CRB checked by the Head before being allowed access to children. Those who deal with children outside schools should of course have a CRB check but that is up to the parents to check and so ensure that the "coach" is a safe and desirable person to have access. Personally I feel that the WCU would be better served just drawing up a list of those who are coaching and perhaps provide some sort of program or guideline. That costs money? Yes of course, but money spent on bread and butter bottom of the ladder coaching would be far better served than money spent on the elite. The wider the base, the taller the pyramid. No one knows who in Wales are coaching young chess players. No one knows how much school activity there is in Wales. No one knows how many other chess players registered in the WCU would be prepared to do some coaching of juniors, even on a one-to-one basis if asked and properly supported. Where are Welsh Junior Coaches? Working hard and keeping their heads down!
Martyn Griffiths Castell Nedd Chess Club
WELL DONE to all those coaches who are putting in time and effort with Welsh juniors. Perhaps the WCU could try (should try ?) to compile a directory of coaches who are actively coaching welsh juniors. This could be out of the public domain but give an extra avenue to contact welsh junior players. These could be school, club or individual coaches ( free to sign and perhaps a benefit if you do ? ). There could be a publicised section on the WCU website Where coaches advertise for players. It would need to have additional information eg. location / level / hourly rate. Where players advertise for coaches. Additional information could be age / level / travel distance. It would then be up to the parent to ask to see the CRB certificate/ attain references. The WCU could put a statement in the section explaining what a CRB check is and advice on how to try to ensure your child is safe. Obviously this facility is probably only useful to a minority of parents - but if your child doesn’t have a school chess club or local town club ( or chess playing parent ! ) it may be a useful reference There could also be information on the site for coaches teaching junior chess, perhaps support could be offered as mentioned above. There could be information for parents on how to help ( not help! ) their child who is interested in chess.
Parents are best placed to know how their child learns & what motivates them, and coaches will understand that they need to individually assess each pupil. There has to be team work involved between pupil/parent/coach and at the endof the day it has to be a mutually satisfying experience for everyone. If there were more players with a visible interest in coaching juniors this could perhaps lead to a more mentorship type system where juniors could be helped and encouraged if they were playing in adult events. Welsh Chess appears to have a lot of real opportunities for junior players who would like to experience representation of their country. Girls especially could use chess as an avenue to an international experience as well. Yes - juniors would need to be good enough Yes - juniors would need to be motivated and dedicated - but with the right kind of encouragement and support perhaps Wales has more unrealised potential than it knows ?!?
Where are the views from our Junior Selectors? Do they read this page? Perha!s they can tell the rest of us what needs to be done to raise the standards of junior chess. Why is Wales always last (or very nearly so) in the Glonrey Cup? This year Wales scored 3 points to finish several miles behind England 16, Ireland 15.5, and Scotland 15.5. We don't seem even to be competing. Is the selection wrong? Are our players not up to it? What are the reasons for this diabolical state of affairs? Answers please.
We simply don't have enough quality players for each age group when it comes to team events.
We do have individual Welsh junior players who have potential to be at least equal in standard to their rivals in neighboring countries, however Wales does struggle to get teams of similar age children of sufficient strength on all boards, as we only have a few quality players. So selectors have a difficult job from the start as there aren't many children to choose from, and then even less choice after juniors have stated availability. ( Perhaps I shouldn't tell you that these are not all England's best players - as they have so many children to choose from they share the offer of representing their country out ! ) The next problem that Welsh selectors face is that for the last couple of years the Glorney Faber has been held alongside the tri/four nations team events. This means that Wales then has to compromise their teams further because they haven't got enough players for each age group, so younger players will have to play in an older team.For this event in particular, another hurdle for the selectors is the timing of the event. It is held in the summer holiday the week before the British chess championships and two weeks before the European Union Youth chess event. This results in time and money being big factors in choices about juniors availability for events.
What then are Ireland and Scotland doing right that Wales isn't?