Sheffield & District Chess Association

Established 1883







S&DCA Season 2021-22 ?!


Various chess organisations are wondering what, if anything, they can or should be doing with regard to a return to organised over-the-board chess along traditional lines – or otherwise.  This is of course against the background of being in the dark as to what the state of the Covid epidemic will be in the Autumn and beyond, and some forecasts are not very good.  So how do you plan?  Can you realistically plan at this stage?


There is an easing of legal restrictions effective from 19/07/2021 which makes a resumption of traditional over-the-board chess potentially possible.   The easing involves legally enforceable restrictions being replaced by “guidance”.  This “guidance” is in practice open to interpretation by individuals as they differently see fit, and that of course leads to organisers being confronted with strongly held yet diametrically opposed individual views!  Who do you please, and how?  Can the government’s hope, that people will be sensible in how they follow the “guidance”, realistically be assumed to work?  Should organisations (chess ones or others) impose, as is broadly quite legitimate, their own rules (not legally enforceable, but then no chess rules are) to keep in place Covid-mitigations such as hitherto have been required by law, so requiring people to be “sensible” – whatever the organisers see as “sensible”?  Is it morally right for an organisation to abrogate responsibility, saying players will just have to sort out things amongst themselves?


Transport operators, supermarkets and various trade unions and similar trade organisations are declaring they “encourage”, “request” or “require” customers to wear face masks after 19/07/2021 to protect staff and other customers.  The choice of language depends on how far they are prepared to potentially antagonise or upset some customers who do not like it, and to what extent they feel they can expect their staff to try to enforce it.


Similarly, organisers of chess, bridge and so on will be asking themselves to what extent they should seek to maximise the safety of their “customers” or members.  At the front of any organiser’s mind will be the fact that their actions potentially might lead to facilitating someone’s death, to put it in its starkest terms.  They are likely therefore to “err” on the side of safety.


On top of the above problems for the organisers, there will be problems for clubs regarding venues, players being split as to whether they favour face masks or not, and when players are prepared to resume playing – and indeed whether they can get captains.  Drivers being unwilling to take passengers could be a problem for some teams.  Also, irrespective of what the S&DCA decides, individual club’s premises may have their own rules.  Thus, if the S&DCA did not insist on mask-wearing, but a particular club’s venue had such a rule, then that sort of potential situation would need to be addressed.


So, if an attempt were made to resume formally organised team chess within the S&DCA, then there are many potential problems to be ironed out, more than already mentioned.


Executive Meeting


Against this background of confusion, an Executive Meeting is to be held on 21/07/2021, to discuss the way forward.  Of course, it is not just for the Executive to determine everything.  Whether, how and when to hold an Annual or Special General Meeting will be considered.  President Geoff Frost has said in an e-mail, “I can assure you that any restart will be with consent.”  That means under terms determined democratically.


In connection with this Executive Meeting, the webmaster decided to contribute views on the impact of the easing of Covid restrictions.