Why are Chess Clubs Dieing?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #1


    I recently was answering the surveys and ran up on the question "How do you most enjoy playing chess? ". 60% answered that they prefered "OTB - In person so I can meet a real human on the other end!"

    If this is true why are so many chess clubs dieing? Is it that while we prefer to play OTB we are to lazy to go to a chess club, or is it that chess clubs are not giving us what we want, and what is it that the chess clubs can give us to get us there?

    The answers to this would be of interest to directors of chess clubs everywhere.


  • 7 years ago · Quote · #2


    here on L.I have to travel

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #3


    Idk, i personally dont go to a chess club because i cannot drive yet.. when i ddo i will go every week,

    but some people dont go because they dont have time, or just not interested in chess clubs, only tournaments.

    Idk why more people dont go, but it would be cool if there were lots of poeple, but then sometimes i would like a nice private chess club with 4-6 people, well all can become good friends and we all jsut talk the whole time, have fun, play soime games, learn some stuff :)

    Btw its dying* Laughing

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #4


    Schachgeek wrote:

    An earlier thread kinda answers the OP's question:


    Basically, at least in the USA, it's too expensive. The USCF is not responsive to the needs of it's members, and charges through the nose for services not delivered.

    Crazy expensive USCF membership fees, tournament entry fees, fees charged to tournament directors, expensive merchandise sales...it adds up.

    Plus the USCF is not actively promoting chess in any way. You often must drive hundreds of miles to play in a tournament, and on top of gas at $3 per gallon you have hotel, food and other costs. Is the USCF sponsoring any tournaments in the USA? Nope. USCF dumps that obligation onto individuals who mostly pay out of their own pocket for the love of chess.

     I agree..

     everything in the world now is for money.., they dont care if they ruin everything, they just want money.. Greedy Bastards.

     If i owned that organization i would make everything decent (especially in this economy) and i would advertise chess etc.., these guys havent got a clue how to help promote chess.

    All i have to say is, gold diggers.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #5


    I agree that the USCF has become more and more ineffectual, but the local chess clubs need not be affiliated with the USCF -- only supported by the local players. The local chess cllubs in the Tampa/St.Petersburg area have followed the USCF in fawning over scholastic chess, and while I agree that this is imortant I don't like being ignored while chess clubs (and the USCF) grab mommy and daddys money because they charge entry fees and only have to give out trophies. Why teach the next generation the joys of chess only to drop them when they grow up.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #6


    I am 12 years old and our school has a chess club but almost nobody goes to it, including me. the reason for this is, if any kid is caught by his peers in chess club he is considered uncool and unpopular. that is the reason kids chess clubs are dieing.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #7


    possit96 wrote:

    I am 12 years old and our school has a chess club but almost nobody goes to it, including me. the reason for this is, if any kid is caught by his peers in chess club he is considered uncool and unpopular. that is the reason kids chess clubs are dieing.

    Looks like you're hanging around the wrong peers.  If they can't accept you for who you are, they don't deserve to be your friends anyways.  Why not do something you enjoy if the only bad consequence is rejection by people that aren't true friends?

    In response to the OP, Americans, in general, have gotten lazier.  Unless they are playing in a tournament, they don't have much incentive to just drive to a bookstore and play chess when they could sit in their lounge chair and play online.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #9


    My chess club experiences have had two problems which are tied together and feed into each other:  very few people there in the first place, so interest in continuing to go died off.  Playing the same 3-4 people can sometimes get old, especially if you have the second problem I had.  The second problem was no even competition.  The people at the club either beat me mercilessly or were total novices trying to get started, so I could whip them.  There was some cooperation and attempts to teach weaker players, but some people just wanted to play.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #11


    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.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #12


    My chess club is only 4 miles from me. You can see it on my profile.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #13


    Chess clubs in Bristol have been dieing out as some teams use to have 6 teams and only have about 2 or 3 now. Now that there is online chess ... more people are perhaps becoming addicted to that and preferring it to OTB chess?  It just needs a boost and some extra publicity and finding people at a young age. I work at a school and I run a chess club and i work hard to get people to come along and publicise it and include prizes as encouragement. I am confident thought that it will pick up again but perhaps the economical situation (particularly in Britain) is taking its toll ... as travelling to away games etc .....

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #14


    Maybe OTB chess will eventually die out completely? Morphy must be turning in his grave...what are we doing to the beautiful game?

    There is an informal chess meeting at a restaurant that I used to go to, but don't anymore. Apparently there were some people there most evenings, but I only went weekly.

    I stopped going because:

    - I had a 40 minute drive to get there

    - Most players wanted to play Blitz, whereas I prefer longer time controls

    - Many players there were rated many hundreds of points above me and I got beaten mercilessly. There were very few regulars at my level.

    - Online chess is cheaper and I can sit on my butt at home :-) Plus get a much wider variety of opponents.

    It's true though, nothing beats the experience of playing "physical" chess, as opposed to "metaphysical" chess.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #15


    I think they're dying for the same reasons newspapers are dying. There are more alternatives than ever before, and adult chess clubs aren't maintaining critical mass. There are more ways to play chess than ever before, the biggest probably being online sites and better and cheaper computer chess games. Several people I know play computer chess regularly, but would never consider going to a tournament or club.

    The USCF has certain unique problems these days, particularly the back and forth lawsuits among the directors. That forced a rise in tournament and membership fees at the same time people had more and cheaper alternatives.

    My kids, 4 and 6, are playing in tournaments now. They'd have been happy just playing against the computer, but I insisted, as I'm sure many other parents have, that if they want to play, they can interact with real people instead of staring at a screen. So scholastic OTB chess is much easier to sustain than adult OTB chess -- there are more benefits to it at the younger age. The USCF is probably correct to emphasize it.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #16


    Internet is changing the world in many ways, including chess...

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #17


    possit96 wrote:

    I am 12 years old and our school has a chess club but almost nobody goes to it, including me. the reason for this is, if any kid is caught by his peers in chess club he is considered uncool and unpopular. that is the reason kids chess clubs are dieing.

    12 is a tough age and peer pressure is enormous.  But you need to ask yourself if its more important to you to be seen as "cool" or doing something you enjoy?

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #18


    There are two chess clubs in my area that I am aware of.  One is about a 30 minute drive and the other is in St.Louis and it has great facilities.  Again it is at least 40 minute drive.  I work and have a family.  My time is limited like everyone elses.  To attend I am looking at least one hour of my time driving.  I can use that time to play online and if the family needs me I can take a short time out and come back.  If the weather is bad the computer is not affected.  I can still play no matter how hard it rains, snows or if there is ice on the road.  I can communicate with many players all over the world online and am limited to the same 10-20 players at the club.  I am not complaining about them because they are great but the experience is limited.  For me it mainly time management and world experience. 

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #19


    I have to go all the way to Sanfransico to play at the Mechanics Club on Tuesdays and thats 40 minutes away and Im lucky!  I hear of people who have to go to places hours away.  To me the problem is the chess clubs are always in inconveniant places.  I go to another club 30 min. away on Fridays.  So thats what 2 OTB games every week?  I hate that theres no place to just hang out and play a few blitz games.  Im 13 years old and I consider myself pretty good and my last few years I was lazy.  I thought I would be good from playing one game a week.  I thought because I was young in a few years I would be the best.  But now I see I need to work to be the best.  Now I spend 3 hours a days working hard to be the best.  Maybe someday I can actually be the best or at least a great player like Reb or Ozzie.

  • 7 years ago · Quote · #20


    I live in a town of 14,000 and we have a chess club 1 mile away from me which has 25 members, of whom nearly 20 turn up weekly.Cool

    Admittedly, at 24 I am by far the youngest member.

Back to Top

Post your reply: