Happy New Year from all at the Bristol Chess Times

Its been a little quiet here at Bristol Chess Times HQ over Christmas as we enjoyed a well earned rest, too many mince pies and a cracking DVD on the Tactical Chigorin Defence.  Since the relaunch of the Bristol Chess Times almost 6 months a go we have enjoyed all of your positive feedback and also learnt a few lessons along the way.  Today I though I would  share a few statistics from the first 6 months and also talk about whats coming up in 2018.

Thus far we have published 33 articles at an average of 5/6 a month.  I have tried to keep a good spread of different types of articles to appeal to all types of chess fans and these have included:

  • Tournament reports and reviews
  • Monthly league reports, updates on the different divisions and Game of the Month
  • Historical articles about the league and former players
  • Problem articles that melt your brain (Thank You Christopher Jones!)
  • Interesting game articles
  • Editorial thought pieces on the state of amateur chess in the UK
  • Chess items for sale or exchange in the Bristol area

Whilst there are different levels of engagement with the different types of articles, I wanted to extend a massive thank you to everyone who has contributed to make the Bristol Chess Times what it is is today.  It really is great to have such variety of content but also writers.  So far we have had 9 writers across just 3 clubs.  Moving into 2018 Im really keen to get more contributors from across the 16 clubs in the league.  If you want to write for the Bristol Chess Times then email bristolchesstimes@gmail.com.  I am also looking to extend some guest columns to individuals outside the Bristol & District Chess League, I will keep you posted.

Finally, I wanted to share some encouraging statistics on how the Bristol Chess Times is encouraging the growth of the league.  As publicity and recruitment officer for the league it is my responsibility to help encourage new players to the league.  In 6 months we have had:

  • 5,052 views of the Bristol Chess Times (84% from the UK, 16% from the rest of the world?!)
  • 2,580 individual visitors
  • 226 views of the “Find a club” page
  • 61 clicks through to individual clubs in the league

I don’t know how many of the 61 people who have expressed an interest in one of the chess clubs have gone on to join (If you know someone who directly joined your club as a result of reading the Bristol Chess Times then please do let me know).  Also, its obviously impossible to tell how many of the remaining 165 people who visited the “Find a club” page called a club instead of clicking through.

Looking ahead into 2018

Given that there were 329 registered players in the 2016/2017 season these numbers are really encouraging.  My personal target for the league would be to try to get it 400 players (i.e. another 70 players).  These kind of numbers are important because:

  • They are not unrealistic or scary numbers!
  • An additional 70 players in the league would help the formation of a fifth division. I have recently seen a lot of chat about broadening the lower levels of the division to offer a broad level of chess to all. The expansion of the league with new players, ready to learn and improve can only be a good thing.

For established league players, The Bristol Chess Times already has a healthy backlog of potential articles lined up as well as our established monthly columns.  If there is anything that you would like to see more of then as always please do get in touch.

Finally, another key objective for me in 2018 is to look at the diversity of the league. For example, currently I note only 8 registered women out of 300 odd players.  This is just 2.6% of the league!! From the great book The Rookie by Stephen Moss, the estimated global population of female chess players is just 6%. Whilst I don’t expect to achieve a 50/50 split in the league, it is a fair point that recruitment can be difficult when you don’t appeal to half the UK population! I have already tabled motions with the LMC and we will discuss these in due course.

So thats it from me in 2017!  Thank you once again for your readership and support.  If you do nothing else for the Bristol Chess Times please do share our articles with your chess playing friends via email, Facebook or Twitter.

Happy New Year!


Jon Fisher

Jon is the Editor of The Bristol Chess Times and Publicity and Recruitment Officer for The Bristol & District Chess League. He plays for Horfield Chess Club and has been known to play 1. b3 on occasion.

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