The Gazette - August 2015

Edited by Julie Leonard
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.

Future of the BCA British Championship

Once again we find ourselves scratching our heads and wondering what we can do to make our British Championship an event more attractive to our members including our leading players.

During the 1990's we enjoyed a surge of interest, with numbers peaking in the mid 40's. This enabled us to run minor events alongside the main Championship event. Since the turn of the century, however, there has been a persistent decline in the number of entries for this event. Following low entries in 2009 and 2011 we opened our 2013 Championship to visually impaired players from beyond the UK and to our associate members, in the hope it would boost the numbers. The result was disappointing with just three additional entries who were not UK visually impaired players. At the 2014 AGM it was decided, by a large majority, to continue with the BCA British Championship as a seven day event, but to revert to the event being limited to UK visually impaired players. The result was an even lower entry with just ten players and just twenty in our party. Once again we failed to attract most of the leading players.

This lack of support for a week long British Championship presents us with a variety of problems:

1. With such low numbers it makes it difficult for us to negotiate favourable rates with the kind of hotels that can provide the facilities we need for a high profile event such as the British Championship.

2. When we fail to attract the support of the majority of the leading players the event becomes less meaningful as a national championship event and less attractive to potential sponsors.

3. An event without the leading players becomes less relevant as a bench mark for judging the relative strengths of players when selecting teams and individuals for major international events.

With the members so emphatically deciding upon a seven day format limited to UK VI players so recently as the 2014 AGM, we, on the tournament sub-committee, feel it would not be proper for us to propose alternative formats without first seeking the advice and the views of members. We are, therefore, inviting you to contact the Tournament Sub Committee with your views and with any suggestions you may have. We will report back in the February issue of 'The Gazette' and the BCA British Championship will appear as an item on the agenda for the 2016 AGM, when any ideas can be debated.

We would like to hear from any member who has come across a hotel they think might be a possibility for the BCA British Championship. We don't expect you to negotiate; we will do that. We feel most members will have some idea of the requirements: Sufficient rooms for up to 40 guests, with some single rooms; a function room for chess playing; suitable for VI people and for guide dogs; reasonable travel connections.

Stan Lovell