Wednesday, January 10, 2007

GA Chess

click on the title GA CHESS to go to the rule

As you know middle peep is very much into chess. He is quite good at it and lives for the game. He is starting new lessons with 3 other chess enthusiasts and we hope that this will help elevate his game. He is currently rated 870. Let's see what it will be after a few months of lessons.
My reason for writing this entry is however to vent!

The Georgia Chess Association is THE place to go for chess information in Georgia. They keep a calendar of tournaments as well as follow very important areas of chess outside and inside the state of Georgia. They also run several tournaments in the state. This brings me to my point. For several years they have excluded homeschoolers from playing on teams or in team tournaments. Their reason behind this is that schools make up the teams and it is the schools that are competing...public and private. You need at least 5 student in the same age group for your school to be able to compete as a team. Based on your students' points they award first, second, etc. There are a few tournaments that as homeschoolers we can participate in: any national tournament and some non-GCA events.

Recently, GCA came out with an official policy on homeschool team participation. Well, I figured it would not be easy to meet the requirements, but these are impossible. After a few of thinking it over, I am ready to explode. Even if the homeschoolers met for classes at a homeschool group not all groups offer classes in all the subjects required or they are not offered at the level needed. It also occurred to me that not even public and private school children meet these requirements. Are all your chess students in the same class learning from the same curriculum? How can a 1st grader be expected to be doing 3rd grade level math? I am very disappointed, at minimum, in this decision. When the GCA told me they were coming out with a rule for homeschoolers, I asked them if they had any homeschoolers in their panel or had they heard from homeschoolers to better understand us and they basically said no and were not interested in learning about us. I offered and I know one other mom who offered to meet with them and be interviewed. They declined us both. They were going to make their decision and we had no say.

The reason behind all this is that they want to avoid a super chess team from forming. Well, to that I must say thank you. Thank you for assuming my son homeschools simply to beat out other kids in chess tournaments. Thank you for punishing those kids that simply want to compete with their friends and they and their friends just happen to be homeschooled. Thank you for limiting who the other kids and teams in this state compete against. With this decision you are not making better tournaments.

If the homeschool teams happen to be on top it is for a very good reason. They are good chess players. When homeschool kids study something they do so with gusto. Homeschool kids have more free time to pursue their interests. They do not sit at their desks for 8 hours or more and watch teachers have to deal with undisciplined children all day long. Then go home and do homework for another 3-4 hours.

An “all-star” team assembled or recruited by student abilities rather than by their pre-existing regular study relationship will not be allowed.

The majority of the children we know are homeschoolers. It is the circle we have decided to be in contact with. From those homeschoolers, we are friends with those whose interest are similar to ours. Those include chess players, swimmers, baseball players, and basketball players. I would have never met a number of homeschool families if not for our mutual interest in chess.
The GCA decision makes no sense. Homeschoolers do not register or have to report to one particular place. How else are we to "meet" if we do not have some sort of relationship. I do not study with groups of people because my children do better at home with one teacher......ME, hence why I homeschool.

Are you seeing the big picture now!!!!!

To say only if you meet for academic classes and do these said subjects and you happen to play chess is ludicrous. NO ONE will meet those requirements.

Now there are ways I can see to meet these requirements but that is not the point. Those kids on my son's team would gladly meet one afternoon and do the required subjects asked by GCA and we could participate as a team but isn't that what GCA is trying to avoid. They think by putting more restrictions it will stop some people. They are dead wrong. It will just make the majority of us angry. Personally, I swear here and now to avoid as many GCA sponsored events as possible, even at the risk of my son's tournament play.

I am sorry for my rant but I thought I would share my anger. My son just wants to play chess and he enjoys it that much more when he can compete with his friends and not just against his friends. At Saturday's tournament he had to play against someone he practices with and has lessons with. Because this child is not homeschooled he could not be on our team. He hated winning against him because he knew it would be a lose for his friend.

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