Entering the last few months of the 20th Century, chess, as with so many sports, games and pastimes, is having to compete with the ever increasing demands upon people’s time. Work pressures overall are increasing; the amount of time people have for playing chess, let alone chess organisation and administration, is limited. Sadly all too often it is the same few people performing all the work.
But chess is resilient, and in particular so is the NCCU, having already passed through two World Wars and several economic depressions to reach its Centenary. Throughout that 100 years, volunteers have stepped forward to keep chess in the North of England alive and competitive. Just how did A. E. Moore persuade people from all over the North of England to come to that inaugural NCCU meeting in Manchester 100 years ago, and to volunteer their services? Perhaps now is the time for those NCCU officers who have given many decades of support to chess events in the North, to look amongst their county teams and congress players and request volunteers to participate within the running of the NCCU if the organisation is once again to flourish.
Do we have to see the information technology age as a threat? No! In fact computerisation readily lends itself to chess playing and chess organisation. Witness the spread of chess playing on the internet, of computerised grading systems, of tournament entries via e-mail.
However as every chess player knows, nothing can beat facing an opponent across the board. With motorway systems throughout the North continuing to improve, perhaps chess playing within the NCCU will become once again more and more relevant. The calendar overleaf bears witness to the fact that chess players in the North are well served. Going the extra step and forming these participants into county players will once again allow the NCCU to reclaim its position at the top of British chess playing!