30 March: Coronavirus & updated message on the suspension of matches – plus more

30 March: Coronavirus & updated message on the suspension of matches – plus more

Updated message on the suspension of B&DCL & DCCA league and cup fixtures and other important & exciting local chess announcements in response to the Coronavirus outbreak

We hope you are all keeping well and carefully protecting yourselves and your loved ones during this very challenging and difficult time.

This is an updated message to the one posted on the 17th March.

It was only a fortnight ago that we were all playing competitive ‘over the board’ chess (i.e. Dorset Rapidplay) and just after that, following UK Government guidelines, we suspended all local league fixtures as part of its national lockdown. As we all know, so much has changed in the last fortnight, both in terms of how the virus is rapidly spreading and the extra tighter measures the UK Government has introduced.

B&DCL & DCCA Fixtures

Our top priority will continue to be that local league and cup chess matches will only resume when it is safe to do so in accordance with UK Government guidelines and following consultation with our local clubs.

The UK Coronavirus position, as expected, is now accelerating & worsening, and the UK Government suggests it will continue this way for a number of weeks, maybe many months to come.

Because of the current unprecedented situation we find ourselves in, which is so fluid yet uncertain, we do not plan to make any further announcement on the possible continuation of B&DCL/DCCA league and cup matches for the next month or so, at the earliest.

There are a number of options that have already been suggested (many thanks to all those who have contacted us) but we feel it is best to wait until the end of April when hopefully the UK position is a little clearer and, if so, a review can then take place to reflect this which will incorporate consultations with all local clubs in May. To expand on this, the ‘clearer UK position’ may simply be that, due to continued social distancing restrictions, there will be no local chess fixtures or meetings until say September or October at the earliest (which now seems likely). We would then in May need to initially consult on how to complete or finalise the current 2019/20 chess season and when to hold AGMs etc. If the position remains ‘unclear’ at the end of April we may then wish to wait until the end of May and delay our consultation period with the local clubs until June but probably no later.

Impending Retirement and Transfer of Duties

As many of you will know, Mike Jay will be sadly retiring as the B&DCL/DCCA League Controller and Webmaster at the end of May after many years of excellent, devoted and much appreciated service. As a result of this, we have been working very hard over the last few months to replace the irreplaceable and we are pleased to announce that Peter Anderson and Martin Clancy have kindly agreed to help with the webmaster duties and the compiling of future fixtures respectively. This will officially come into effect from the 1st June and we hope there will be a seamless transition. Please note that Peter has already worked wonders developing a very impressive and informative ‘Junior Chess’ section on the Dorset Chess website. Welcome aboard Peter and Martin, we really do appreciate your full support. We also do hope Mike will attend our AGMs, whenever these might be, to deliver his informative reports for one final time and to allow us to provide our sincere thanks to him.

As it is now extremely unlikely, perhaps even impossible that this season’s league fixtures will be resumed during Mike’s remaining tenure, if you have any questions or comments then can you please direct them to either Ian Clark (for DCCA matters) or me (for B&DCL matters) – our contact details can be found here https://www.dorsetchess.co.uk/captains-page/. We are sure Mike will still be interested so please feel free to copy him in.

Online Chess Tournament Initiative

Whilst we are in lockdown please do not hesitate to take advantage of the excellent Ringwood Chess Club initiative to promote online tournament chess for all our local players. The link to join this free online club can be found here https://www.ringwoodchessclub.org.uk/internet-club-and-open-nights/. There are already blitz tournaments set up for four days a week and we are very much indebted to Martin Clancy’s hard work in setting all this up and in such a short space in time.

Online Junior Chess Initiative

Not to be left out, for all juniors in the local area, Andy Baskett (Ringwood Chess Club) has already set up a free online Ringwood Junior Chess Club on the excellent https://www.chesskid.com/ website and he is pleased to report this has already attracted more than 10 junior members. He has now very kindly offered to team up with Nikki Forster, our Junior Chess Coordinator, to see if there is sufficient interest to set up other free online junior chess clubs within the local area and possibly to arrange online chess matches between the various local library junior chess club teams. Nikki and I have been shown (by conference call) Andy’s ambitious plans. The animations and opportunities for our juniors are very interactive and we feel this is a massive game changer in the junior chess world so well done to Andy, this is brilliant news and many thanks to him for all his enthusiastic, creative, hard work!

Please contact Andy via the following link https://forms.gle/SBz3J5NkRWwbztpJ9 or email Nikki (details on the ‘Junior Chess’ page https://www.dorsetchess.co.uk/junior-chess/) if you are interested in finding out more information on how this might work and particularly if you wish for your child to join this new exciting online club. More details will hopefully be posted soon on the ‘Junior Chess’ landing page.

Other Initiatives

If you and/or your clubs have any other great initiatives that would benefit the local chess organisations during the lockdown period then please do let Ian or me know, we would greatly welcome them.

Looking after our Chess Club Members

We would politely ask you to carefully think about all your club members during this difficult time, especially those who might be a little vulnerable and may appreciate some additional support, either by a telephone chat or perhaps with some shopping. Southbourne Chess Club has started introducing a ‘buddy’ system. As many landline and mobile phone networks offer packages with free unlimited minutes, there could also be an opportunity to play a telephone chess match for those chess club members who do not have access to playing chess online.

And Finally

When many other sports and activities have had to stop completely, it is reassuring to know there are so many alternative ways and means for chess to continue and flourish in the current world of uncertainty!

Keep safe,

Martin Simons – B&DCL Chairman

30 March 2020