Perhaps not all of you know that, in a previous life, I worked in the Market Research industry. I was involved in data processing, not (unlike my last OTB opponent before lockdown, who is a real market researcher) on the research side, but I still developed an interest in surveys and their analysis.
So I decided to ask you all a few questions to help me decide if we can provide better online facilities until we can meet up in person again.
Many thanks to the 23 people who have answered our survey so far.
Here’s what I found out.
19 of you play online chess: 16 play on lichess and 11 on chess.com. Other platforms are not popular.
Preferred time limits are blitz (13) and rapid (11), with some interest in bullet and classical. There is no obviously strong pattern of stronger players favouring faster time limits.
Most of you (16) prefer playing with increments.
16 of you are interested in internal online tournaments (but it seems that most of those 16 don’t play in them very often if at all).
12 of you are interested in friendly international inter-club competitions – I’m slightly surprised this figure isn’t higher.
17 of you are interested in online matches against local clubs, 2 of whom would only play if the matches weren’t ECF graded. I understand this is currently being discussed by local leagues and await further information.
The preferred days for online chess are midweek evenings: Thursdays (15) and Wednesdays (14). There is little interest in playing at weekends.
There is quite a lot of interest in online talks by strong players (15), some interest in private lessons (10) and less interest in online simuls (5). Mike Healey has kindly offered to do an online talk: perhaps we could start there and see how it goes. We could also advertise online tuition by our stronger players (and also our GM/IM friends). These are certainly avenues we might want to consider further once we’re able to meet in person again.
8 of our respondents were stronger club players (1750-1999): there were 5 respondents in each of the other 3 categories, intermediate players, average club players and master strength players.
- Continue the online sessions, on Thursday evenings until further notice. Perhaps choosing a faster time limit would attract more players.
- Ask Mike to set up an online lesson via Zoom.
- Keep in touch with local leagues about their plans for online competitions.
- Perhaps I should ask some more questions at some point, in particular about how we can get our less experienced and lower rated players more involved.