Why are Chess Clubs Dieing?

Reb wrote:
asampedas wrote:
Schachgeek wrote:
woton wrote:

Chess is not a  popular game.  In the US, a country with a population of 300 million: (1) the USCF has about 80,000 members, and (2) Chess.com has about 400,000 US members. That's a very small fraction of the population.

USCF membership numbers is not an accurate barometer of chess popularity in the USA.

How many of those 300 million people play chess, could it be 10 millon? 50 million?

And of those howevermany millions, how many belong to the USCF? Less than 100,000.

Why is that?  Simple. USCF is a mess.

I'm sorry, but I have to disagree with both of you.

Ok! There are 80,000 members in USCF and 400,000 members in Chess.com. BUT, there may be other people who play chess within their own families but don't join USCF or Chess.com. Who knows? They may be playing chess only in their houses and not join sites like Chess.com. We do not know, and I do not know, and if I have, in some way, insulted anyone, I apologize.

Do not judge right away...We may be wrong...

 These people are only casual players. They are not likely to ever play in a chess tournament and certainly arent likely to join a chess club or the USCF. I wouldnt even count them as "chess players". I play a few casual games of checkers, backgammon, poker, monopoly and other games every year but I dont consider myself a backgammon player, nor checker player... I am a chess player however.

Ahha...don't you realise something? You may disregard them as 'chess players', but in fact, they DO PLAY CHESS! You play checkers, backgammon, poker, monopoly, etc., and you are the player of those games!

I'm not sure if you are inputting the fact that these chess players are not official. If so, then I agree they are not official like you are, but they still do play chess, and for me, I would regard them as 'chess players'.

Everyone has his own stand...don't worry of expressing it...each person has his own views...


It's a tribute to chess that it has withstood TV, video games, movies on DVD, MP3 players, the internet, and hover cars as well as it has.

It's still seems a lost cause, serious chess as played by the hobbyist that is.

The numbers for the big annual local tournament here are well below what it was just before the Fischer boom. At least it is still being held.


you have tournament at beertopia ? got to see that !

kco wrote:

you have tournament at beertopia ? got to see that !

 Where do I send my entry fee ?!!


Ha ha. These days the beer is better than ever and fairly cheap too!

Some things are better than they used to be!


good question.. i feel people are'nt much encouraged to go to CHESS CLUBS (which may be for different reasons)


got a tip if you want to find a local chess club 

just type into Google

"chess clubs in - "and then you town village or city and there should be one near you  


This is probably your best shot: http://main.uschess.org/index.php?option=com_wrapper&Itemid=198


One reason for the death of chess clubs is the easy access to chess instruction and competition on websites like this one. For a lot of people, the convenience of a website beats going to a physical club that might be a long way away, at an inconvenient time, etc.


"...the goal is to dump uscf, start anew."

Now there's a worthy cause if I've evedr heard one.


Chess has been on the decline for ages.  My club is pretty much male doniminated, and there's only a few youngsters, recently it dropped a team, unable to provide enough players.  I got into chess in the media hype around the Fischer Spasky match, the chess club I joined then grew out of that, it  and the one after that and even the third I joined have all gone. It's all pretty much in decline, Karpov wasn't media friendly and Kasparov too dominant, never had an equal.  Here you can just about win the price of a meal for first prize for a weekend tournament - - wow???  I often try to read chess news, I love chess - it's so excruciatingly dull, no wonder no one is motivated to play compared to video games, even to shampoo adverts chess's image is dire.


I live in Jacksonville, FL. We have quite a few players here but the club apparently lost its building(prior to my involvement) so there is no regular meeting. In order to play a time or two a month I end up meeting friends at each other's houses or an occasional game at work.

Also, sometimes, I drive 39 miles to a little town (Palatka) south of us to play in a monthly tournament. The club in this town is a very active club with a building and regular meetings during the week but I'm not able to go during the week for casual or organized meetings.

I look at internet play as helpful and fun but there is nothing like OTB and playing in tourneys is new for me but fun.


Here is an example of a riviting clip guaranteed to fill the clubs to capacity...


batgirl wrote:

"...the goal is to dump uscf, start anew."

Now there's a worthy cause if I've evedr heard one.

Things to think about if we want to dump the USCF:

Who is willing to start a new organization?

Who has the necessary managerial skills to start a new organization?

Who will staff a new organization?  How large a staff is required?

Who will supply the startup money?

How long will the new organization take to establish itself?  What happens in the interim?

If people are so unhappy with the USCF, why hasn't it already been replaced?


people nowadays are just plain lazy. they would rather sit at home on their pc instead of getting off their arse and doing something themselves, even if is something they enjoy a lot of people would rather do it 'electronically' if possible


The way it works here is the National Chess Federation receives money from the state every year to support chess. A portion of that money is given to the various chess associations throughout the country to run local events. A portion is used to run a few National events and the rest goes towards expenses of the Federation. The problem is that the chess federation receives little compared to other sports, such as soccer which is vastly more popular. Then you always have politician/crooks in the federation that misuse the money and at the end of the year when they cant show to the state that the money was used for chess the state cuts even more what the Chess federation gets the following year. The US doesnt have such state support so uscf members must pay fees...... Some clubs here also receive financial support from the city/local power(s) and a few have been known to receive support from a wealthy patron(s) but this is very rare. The fact that this money exists here permits tournaments to be held with much better prize money to entry fee ratio compared to the USA and other western Nations. They arent so dependent on entry fees here.


OTB chess needs a big revolution in England and I know some people aren't happy with the ECF (only rumours not fact) ..... but hopefully they can find someway to promote OTB chess that will convince people to join chess clubs etc ............... they are new people joining clubs but existing people are tending to leave is what I have found. Also lots of clubs don't meet to practice anymore due to lack of members and tend to be inactive. I left my previous chess club because of this and joined another one but i am finding it hard to find chess refreshing and enjoying because i'm not getting the results i would like but in turn i should enjoy chess for the sake of playing it over the board as well?

Schachgeek wrote:

Where is Beertopia?

I'll be there.

I'll buy the first round.


I wonder if in the current economic climate it would be possible for chess clubs to have a resurgence. I imagine the cost of renting a location for one would be the best it has been in years.


Any future lottery winnings are pre-allocated to opening a chess club here in Phoenix, or perhaps a nice Irish Pub with really nice chess tables that can double as a chess club location.


Simple, the internet.  Firstly, I don't want to pay to play.  Secondly, online Chess is so much more convenient. It allows you to play at your own pace, with people all over the world. I just had a great draw with a guy working in Antarctica, that isn't going to happen at a club.  Also allows you more time to do other things in life. I've only ever thought about going to a Chess club. I learned how to play on a computer.  I do like the face to face but to be honest its the game itself I love, not the competition or the clock.  Chess software nowadays gives you the best opponent you'll ever have, which is another reason clubs are in decline.

woton wrote:

Chess is not a  popular game.  In the US, a country with a population of 300 million: (1) the USCF has about 80,000 members, and (2) Chess.com has about 400,000 US members. That's a very small fraction of the population.

I live in an area of 30,000 people, and the local chess club, which is free, has 20 members (that number includes people who only attended once).  On a good night, three or four people attend the once-a-week meeting.

I think that response #8 says it all.  If you cannot interest younger people, chess club membership will decline.

 I have to disagree, even though your statistics don't lie.  Chess has always been popular.  It's more of a household game though, like various different card games.  People like to play it offhandedly, just to pass time, I know a lot of people who know the rules and can play the game, it's just they don't play very well.  Past a certain level of skill they lose interest in it which is why they don't make it down to the club.  It takes a lot of time spent playing to get to that level, most folk don't put that time in.  Kasparov is right, its mental torture.  The game gets harder the better you get at it, thats another thing that puts people off.  I guess thats one of the factors that make the game what it is. I only have one friend who still plays me over the board even though he hasn't beaten me in about 3 years.  Like me, he just loves the game, not the competition.