- France: 2000+: 33 ; CM: 3 ; FM: 4 ; IM: 1
- Spain: 2000+: 34 ; CM: 0 ; FM: 2 ; IM: 0
- Germany: 2000+: 36 ; CM: 2 ; FM: 2 ; IM: 0
- Italy: 2000+: 11 ; CM: 1 ; FM: 0 ; IM: 0
- England: 2000+: 6 ; CM: 1 ; FM: 0 ; IM: 0
I am sure this has been debated to death, but why are the England juniors so far behind, and what can be done to change that?
After all, England managed to get to #3 I believe in the 80's, and I am sure juniors of that time still had to deal with school, A levels, Uni or work.
Some arguments I heard:
- Juniors in England drop chess after secondary school due to competing interests: I am sure this this is the same in all countries. And many persevered in the 80's, so what changed?
- There is no money in chess: I'd argue there never was, so doesn't explain the decline, nor why other countries have a better take up
- Parents force their kids to focus on studies: again, I don't see why it would be different in other western countries.
- There no advanced/elite clubs for juniors: Maybe? It's true I don't know as many advanced junior clubs than in let's say France. When you go to a junior individual event, you can see al the children in the club polo, with 1-3 club volunteers or coaches, with training in between games, etc.. A whole support network. Also, there are very few holiday chess camps in England.
- Chess costs a lot after all with travels, books and coaching: Other countries manage it, so maybe they are more efficient by pooling resources in clubs? It costs much less this way (also, by acting as childcare, the chess clubs save money to some families)
- Other countries have more state support (at national, regional or even municipal level)
- Other countries organise many more opportunities for juniors to play titled players and meet them. (e.g., last week MVL spent the day at one of the Parisian chess clubs. Many other clubs regularly have super GM's or strong GMs visit or lecture. There are many simuls offered too.)
But the question remains: what are we missing, and how to improve?