I have heard or seen many teenagers who quit chess when they are in middle or high schools. These promising young chess players stop their chess improvements at early ages, which are usually best time for people to achieve their full talents in chess. On the other hand, in middle or high schools, there are so many school work or after school activities waiting for kids. Everything is time consuming. Most kids picked up chess when they were in elementary school or earlier, there’s little or no homework and school’s easy too, they had all the time they’d like to put on chess. Now, suddenly, the kids have no enough time to spend on chess practicing and playing. By and by, the big kids may lose interest in chess (because of less practicing, less playing and less improvement in chess) and start to pursue something more popular. Usually this new interest needs total commitment, kids and parents may have to spend all their time and energy on it and quit chess along the way.
To make the chess more competitive among all choices teenagers may face, I would think the following improvements are needed, so chess teenagers still keep an interest on chess and keep playing in chess tournaments:
- Emphasize Change. It will attract more younger kids to play chess when educators or parents know that chess is beneficial to the development of intelligent, chess can help the kid’s performance in school and beyond. Now for bigger kids, this emphasize may not work anymore, on one hand, they are already very smart in school and do not new incentive to be any smarter, on the other, there are many popular activities to choose. So I think the new emphasize should be “chess is a royal game”. Many people like it because they are up to the challenge.
- Since “chess is a royal game”, chess scene should be clean and fair. People with more love and put more work in chess should be able to achieve more success or recognition among chess community.
- Since “chess is a royal game”, many, if not most, people should hold chess in high regard. There should be a large fan base to follow chess.
- More colleges – hopefully, large or small, public or private, could supply chess scholarships or some kind of rewards for chess achievements at the admission process. So kids and parents can have additional incentive for continuing involvement in chess in high school.
- More sponsors to chess professionals. These chess professionals could put more time on chess, less time to worry their lives.
How do you think?