Secretaryship for Junior Chess
in the past
This is the webmaster’s own view of things based on records. Readers may remember things differently. Some may appreciate it. The plan is to follow up with a view of the school-based junior chess scene of 60 years ago (WIP), for comparison with the present.
A recent development relevant to the YCA AGM is interest being shown in promoting junior chess again through the YCA and the possibility of a new YCA Secretary for Junior Chess. (The present incumbent is understood to be standing down.)
The YCA had only two Secretaries for Junior Chess over the 42-year period 1971 to 2013, the first from 1971 to 1991, and the second from 1991 to 2013. Both operated as they each thought fit without involving the broader YCA in any decision-making process as far as I am aware.
There are some junior activities written into the YCA Rules, specifically age-limited individual championships. There are other activities not specifically provided for by any Rules which nevertheless naturally fall to the junior secretary of a county organisation, such as internal junior team competitions and entering county teams in external inter-county events. There are some organisational opportunities within a wider region which fall less clearly to any county organisation, such as inter-county team competitions within the Northern Counties as a whole and regional stages of the UK Chess Challenge as it is now called.
When Alan Coupe formally stepped down from the junior secretaryship in 2013, he continued, outside that context, with running a Yorkshire UKCC “Megafinal” and some other things. Some activities hitherto undertaken by holders of the YCA post seem to have been assumed by others for a while after Alan stopped.
The YCA Junior Chess secretaryship was left vacant at the 2013, 2014 and 2015 AGMs. Thew wider membership of the YCA was obviously able to see there was a vacancy, but nobody showed interest in taking it on. (Too big a job?) In 2016, Peter Cloudsdale and Phill Beckett were jointly appointed to the post, which may have led to the formation by Peter of the White Rose Junior Chess Academy mentioned below. The post was nearly left vacant again in 2017, but, as nobody else showed any interest, Noel Stewart took on the post, much on the basis that anything he did in the post could not be worse than having a vacancy. Noel continued, mainly helping at events run by others, in 2018 and 2019, but is understood now to be standing down.
The job of running Yorkshire-wide junior chess is an onerous task, especially for only one person, and a network of organisers could more easily shoulder such a job.
The Northumbria Junior Chess Association, covering Northumberland, Tyneside and Co. Durham, was formed and registered as a charity in 1995. As this was initiated largely by Paul Bielby, a past (1960s) YCA Secretary for Junior Chess, there could be a message for Yorkshire here.
The Job of YCA Secretary for Junior Chess in the Past
The activities undertaken by YCA Secretaries for Junior Chess, long past and recent, have been:
There is no specific provision within the YCA Constitution and Rules for any of the above activities except Rules for the Junior Championships (1).
Item 2 relied on the underpinning prevalence of inter-school team chess which is now largely lost.
Such things as 3 and 4 above have been undertaken off the post-holder’s own bat and own initiative, without them being proposed to any YCA AGM or the Executive, so far as I know, and not while I was YCA Hon. Sec. To that extent they do not “belong” to the YCA, though they have been done by the YCA Sec. for Junior Chess.
Items 5 & 6 fall to the YCA as an affiliate of the NCCU.
Of course, the above can be changed for the future.
Other Organisations and Activities
Events organised by the Yorkshire Junior Chess Association hitherto have seemingly been limited to one-day rapid-play (OTB) events (going on-line during Covid restrictions but now OTB again). This is run by John Hipshon with assistance from others at events.
The White Rose Chess Academy set up by Peter Cloudsdale aimed at training events has been wound up as much as anything due to Peter’s age.
Individuals have long been acting privately as chess coaches in schools, Mike Denison, Graham (“Nick”) Nixon and Paul Blackman being examples from the past. More recently this has assumed an organised basis in the form of Chess in Schools and Communities, of which Dan Staples is the Yorkshire area co-ordinator.
The Northumbria Junior Chess Association, covering Northumberland, Tyneside and Co. Durham, was formed and registered as a charity in 1995. As this was initiated largely by Paul Bielby, a past YCA Secretary for Junior Chess, there could be a message for Yorkshire here.
Organisations organising rapid-play or standard-play junior events at a national level are: