Coronavirus Update – self-isolating no longer compulsory but Still Advised

Chess League advice and information

February 2022 – Latest Government Regulations and Guidance.

A summary of the latest UK government update following last week’s announcement, which covers the removal of the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test, can be found here …

However, adults and children who test positive are still strongly advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 days, and then until they have received two negative tests on consecutive days.  Please see the government guidance.

Teams in our local leagues impacted by this advice can request a postponement at late notice.

January 2022 – Latest Government Regulations.

From Thursday 27/1/22 face masks will no longer be legally required in chess clubs.  However, the government states “Public health guidance will remain in place, suggesting individuals should continue to wear a face covering in crowded and enclosed spaces, where you may come into contact with people you do not normally meet”, i.e. the government recommends that they continue to be worn in venues such as chess clubs.

Therefore, as of 27/1/22 the league rules concerning COVID (B&DCL and Dorset League) once again apply in full (as opposed to being overridden by the December legislation).

Please see the January government statement.

December 2021 – Latest Government Regulations.

As of 10/12/21 new tougher government regulations are in force including new rules regarding face masks.

It appears that these rules make it a legal requirement for face coverings (masks) to be worn in chess clubs (which are “members clubs” as per the government announcement) by all adults and juniors aged 11 years or over. 

The ECF states, “Although the ECF is unable to provide specific advice on individual events, our view is that indoor chess venues will come within the scope of the new mask-wearing requirements.”

This rule applies to all club activities including casual chess and socialising as well as B&DCL, DCL and Bacchus league matches.

When chess is being played in an area serving food and drink (e.g. a bar area or coffee house) masks may not be required.

Juniors under 11 years are not required to wear a mask but can do so if parents prefer.

The new regulations override the league regulations regarding face coverings (masks).

July 2021 – ECF / Government Step 4 Guidance / Recommendations

As we are now in Step 4 of the government’s COVID-19 plan, many legal requirements have been removed but there are still a lot of recommendations in place to help reduce the spread.  These are summarised here on the ECF website.

May 2021 – ECF Draft Covid Precautions

The ECF has issued a helpful set of draft Covid precautions for playing chess which can be found here on the ECF website.

Whilst some of these are aimed at tournament organisers many of them are relevant to league chess too and therefore warrant consideration by clubs and league committees.

March ECF Statement

The ECF has issued a statement which outlines a staged approach to restarting chess.   The statement can be found here.

As you will see it sets out the earliest dates and normal chess activity will not be able to commence until 21st June at the very earliest, though more limited face-to-face chess may be possible before then.

February Government Update

Here is the UK government’s link to its Roadmap out of lockdown including its 4 steps announced this week …
Covid-19 Response Spring 2021

As the dates are indicative and subject to change, it’s too early to be definitive but with a significant relaxation of measures and restrictions for meeting up indoors scheduled for 21st June (at the earliest), there are positive signs for some face-to-face chess towards the end of the summer and for the start of next season.

No guidance has yet been offered by the ECF but its annual flagship event is the British Chess Championships which for 2021 is scheduled for the last week in July, to be played in Torquay, so it will be interesting if anything unfolds in relation to this, particularly as it normally needs at least a three month lead in time.

Previous ECF Statements

15/1/2021 The latest ECF summary says, unsurprisingly, that OTB is out for the time being.

2/12/2020 The ECF has summarised the latest government advice here. The key passage seems to be that for Tier 2 “Other activities, such as hobby groups, organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes can continue to take place, provided that different households or support bubbles do not mix. Where it is likely that groups will mix, these activities should not go ahead.

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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