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thumper 30 ( +1 | -1 )
New chess club I just started a new chess club at my college and was wondering if anyone could give some advice or pointers about how to run it effectively. I will have a VP, Secretary and Treasurer to assist club operations as well as a Program Advisor from the college. Any constructive suggestions would be appreciated.
zucan 202 ( +1 | -1 )
Maybe a couple of us can help... I am the faculty advisor to the chess club here at our University. The president of the club plays here regularly as well, and we have several other club members that play here...

My suggestion is to contact your student activities office first thing and ask them for information on how to run a club. They should have a bunch of information, such as how to write a club constitution, how to get funding for your club, etc etc.

However, it takes time to understand the nuances of how to run an effective club at any college or university. The best approach is to keep it simple. This means that you should find a meeting place and if necessary, get it reserved. Starting with once a week meetings is a good way to go. I suggest also finding a place that has a lot of foot traffic and the potential of pulling in people with interest in playing... If you have a recreation center that allows you to reserve rooms, that may be the best place to do it at.

Once you have weekly meetings, then you can start planning some other basics, such as a tournament. Your first tournament may be the only one of the year... your second year of the club might be more successful and manage to get a couple tournaments, or maybe one per quarter/semester (whatever you have). We are pretty much up to quarterly tournament ourselves. The tournaments are pretty unofficial, designed to attract new membership more than anything... no fees, swiss-style, usually 5 round, and we hope to have enough clocks to put on all the boards...

In any the case, I can't stress how important it is to keep it simple when you are first starting out! Just get meetings going and get people to show up... if you can do this, other things can start to happen... If you are ambitious enough and your interest really shines when others come to the meetings, it will rub off and magic will happen... just be patient...

If you want any other ideas, feel free to message me... I will help as much as I can. There is only so much that can be put here in text :)

Good luck!
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zucan 160 ( +1 | -1 )
Some things we do... Currently, we meet each Tuesday from 7pm-Midnight. We have enough people coming to the meetings now that we can have a chess ladder that keeps track of how players relate to other players in an interesting way. Winter quarter was the first time we have done that and it has been more successful than I could ever have hoped! Instead of lots of blitz games being played, like it used to be, now lots of nice, slow-paced serious games are being played. I can already see major improvements in skill with some of the players.

We also play Bughouse a lot at the club... We typically wait until near the end of the night... You have to keep in mind that once you play Bughouse, it ruins your normal chess play (mentally speaking), so you *have* to play it at the end :) This game has done wonders to attact new membership... It is fast paced, team-based and looks really cool when watching it as a spectator!

It turns out that our club is actually a Strategy Games Club, so it technically isn't called "Chess Club". As a result, we have brought all kinds of games to the meetings, such as Othello, Backgammon, Stratego, Go, Risk, etc. The idea was to make it a little more general to attract more people to the club meetings... We even have Magic the Gathering card players there... Interestingly enough, though, pretty much only chess gets played and nobody plays anything else :-)

Just throwing a couple more thoughts out for ya.

thumper 56 ( +1 | -1 )
Good stuff Zucan........ Sound advice that I will take to heart. As things get rolling and I learn more specific questions, I will probe your brain for further details. ;-) I fear this endeavor may get out of hand though. After only two hours of token effort the club has grown to 18 eager chess players and we haven't had our first meeting yet! What two more weeks of recruiting and an add in the school paper may produce is frankly, a little scary! Hehe, I may be a better organizer than administrator but I intend to find out...

Keep the input comming.
hardcorepawn 10 ( +1 | -1 )
The chess club I play at meets in the pub :)

They have a room set asisde to play in and provide us with free food.
zucan 103 ( +1 | -1 )
thumper Don't worry about it getting out of hand... Sure, you have 18 people interesting in going, but they have to show up first! Just reserve a regular meeting place and time and show up... that is all you need to do in the outset... In fact, I wouldn't do *anything* else! Just show up and play chess with people who come. Once you have a few weeks of meetings under the belt and you begin to see who starts coming back regularly, then you can worry about what to do next.

One thing to keep in mind is that you probably don't have enough chess sets to bring, so tell everyone to bring their own (and chess clocks too if they own any). After the club gets a little more established and it looks like it will survive, then I would suggest go shopping at Ebay for some standard tournament roll-up boards and pieces... You can ask for donations and remember to check with your Student Activities body to see about other ways you can get money.

Good luck!
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