Coronavirus Update – Further Guidance From ECF

Coronavirus Update – Further Guidance From ECF

ECF Statements

4/10/2020  The ECF has this week issued a further COVID-19 update using the findings from the Northumberland Chess Congress organisers.

As you will see, the congress organisers have been very thorough and have issued four documents which the ECF fully supports but perhaps it is the ‘Anti Covid Measures and Congress Impacts’ document that is the most relevant. This could have a substantial impact, not only on our local chess tournaments but also on our local leagues for when we do return to over the board chess.

15/9/20  The ECF have released a Covid-19 update following the issuing of the latest government guidelines.

They state “It is the ECF’s view that the new measures are going to make it very difficult, if not impossible, for chess clubs, leagues, congresses and other bodies to organise over the board chess events…

The full statement is available on the ECF website.


Completing the 2019/20 League Season:  Consultation Process Feedback Summary

31/8/20  As promised in the Coronavirus Consultation Document issued at the beginning of July, Martin Simons has provided the following update.

As always any feedback continues to be much appreciated.  There is a feedback box at the bottom of this page for comments to be supplied.  Feedback from B&DCL and Dorset League will be shared here as part of the ongoing consultation process. Feedback from people outside the local area may also be shared if it adds particular value.  We may summarise lengthy comments and reserve the right to moderate comments in the interests of respectfulness.


Thank you to everyone who provided valuable feedback on how to complete the 2019/20 League season. This is a key part of the consultation process. In total, we have so far had over 20 individuals responding, with many of these also representing the views of their club members (which suggests nearer 50 in total).

The majority view from the local feedback indicates a preference to seek some kind of closure for the 2019/20 season mainly because our members prefer certainty in the current uncertain world, feel teams (and club numbers) will look very different and that many of the divisions, particularly within the B&DCL, are clear cut. However, there were a few respondents who would like to keep the option open of completing the 2019/20 season first before deciding on the 2020/21 season. There does not seem to be much appetite for completing fixtures online.

It is not clear if our players will return if restrictions and measures (masks, gloves, providing own chess sets etc) are required but due to the age demographics of our local league structure, our leagues would likely be substantially impacted unless these are minimal.

These options will be explored again once there is more certainty when over the board (OTB) local league chess can resume and we know what timescales we are dealing with.

Unfortunately, as there are still national COVID 19 restrictions in place, it is still not clear when OTB league chess is likely to return in a completely safe environment (without restrictions and measures in place) and many landlords of venues are also likely to remain cautious about permitting indoor events. The latest UK government guidance (see link below) suggests playing chess may not be regarded as a celebration (even though our first gathering might be) or a sport and meeting indoors in gatherings from several households should therefore not really be happening. However, clubs or groups can begin to meet again in COVID-19 secure venues and if these do occur, restrictions and measures should apply such as social distancing. (last updated on 14th August 2020)

Similarly, there are likely to be some local chess players who will be understandably nervous about returning. However, subject to any worsening of the COVID 19 position over the coming autumn and winter months, we hope that chess clubs may be permitted and able to recommence playing friendly games of chess before the end of this year and we also hope that OTB league chess may restart next year (perhaps with some minor measures and adjustments). It may be possible, if permitted, safe and appropriate, to hold AGMs for the current 2019/20 season over the Winter period. However, all this needs to be continuously monitored and we are currently in no position to provide any further guidance on this.

The national chess picture remains clear in the sense that generally there is little evidence of a likely return to OTB chess soon (even with restrictions and measures in place) particularly in local leagues. The main current format for playing any type of competitive chess continues to be via the online chess platform. However, it has been noted that two congress for the weekend of 25th to 27th September 2020 could be going ahead.

  • The Fareham Congress, run by Castle Chess, may be going ahead but only a few entries so far (currently 13) and there will be considerable restrictions and measures in place (e.g. wearing masks and temperature checks).

We will monitor both of these events and provide a further update soon after. We may also by then have a better idea if there is any proposed planned return in other local chess leagues. Steve Peirson has indicated that a final decision for the Dorset Blitz scheduled to be held on Sunday 4th October in Wareham will be made in early September.

This remains a difficult and perhaps frustrating time as we are sure there are many who may want to return as soon as possible whilst others remain nervous. Tournament OTB chess looks as though it may reconvene ahead of any local league OTB chess.

Please share this update with your members.

Once again, thank you for your support.

Martin Simons – B&DCL Chairman – 30th August 2020

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