Yorkshire Chess Association


Year Book 2019-20 Contents



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Accuracy of club information &

Yearbook: further copies

Message from the President

Officers 2019-20

YCA Honorary Life Members

Annual Fees (as revised 2019)

County Match Fees (as revised 2019)

YCA League Fixtures 2019-2020

YCA League Match Venues

Match Correspondents ‑ Woodhouse Cup

Match Correspondents ‑ IM Brown

Match Correspondents ‑ Silver Rook

Secretaries of Competing Clubs

Junior Chess Contacts

Contact Details Index

Chess Clubs/Organisations in Yorkshire

ECF Aug 2019 Grading List Extract

Notes on Grading List Extract

List of Clubs in Yorkshire-based Leagues

League Tables & Match Results 2018-19

County Match Results 2018-2019

Correspondence Chess 2018-19

Yorkshire Junior Activity 2018-19

Recent Winners of YCA Events

YCA Constitution

YCA League Rules (as revised 2019)

Index to Rules

Individual Championship Rules

Event Calendar 2019-20

Yorkshire Individual Championship 2020

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Re-Opening Chess Clubs


The government has partially relaxed restrictions on social activity during the coronavirus pandemic.  Along with the opening for business of various non-essential shops, restaurants and pubs, all subject to rigorous controls of course, it is now possible for some “community facilities” to re-open, though circumspection is advised.


The ECF has adapted, for chess, the guidance drawn up by the English Bridge Union.  This is particularly detailed, and advises much which many might feel too much extra effort at this stage.  For this guidance see https://www.englishchess.org.uk/chess-clubs-and-covid-19/.  Holmfirth Chess Club, for one, has opened up again on the basis of this guidance (see below).


Government guidance at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities/covid-19-guidance-for-the-safe-use-of-multi-purpose-community-facilities says:


3c: Recreation, leisure and social gatherings


Clubs or groups that use community facilities can begin to meet again and facility managers should follow these COVID-19 secure guidelines to facilitate that.


Premises or locations which are COVID-19 secure will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their own capacity limits, although any individual groups should not interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending the venue with – so in a group no larger than 2 households or 6 people if outdoors.


People meeting in a club or group context at a community centre should be encouraged to socially distance from anyone they do not live with or who is not in their support bubble.  In general, people are being advised to only:

·                     meet indoors in groups of up to 2 households

·                     meet outdoors in a group of no more than 2 households (including your support bubble) or in a group of up to 6 people from different households.


Community facilities should therefore not facilitate large gatherings or celebrations. See guidance on weddings. We recognise the importance of social clubs for some individuals and recommend that these can proceed with caution in venues that have been made COVID-19 secure.


Activities not permitted


Community facilities should not permit live performances, including drama, comedy and music, to take place in front of a live audience. This is important to mitigate the risks of droplets and aerosol transmission – from either the performer(s) or their audience. There will be further guidance setting out how performing arts activity can be managed safely in other settings, for instance rehearsing or broadcast without an audience.


Indoor community facilities should also not permit sports activities that would typically take place in a gym, sports venue, or a fitness or dancing studio – these venues have not yet been permitted to open.



Earlier, under the heading “2. Core principles for safely reopening community facilities”, it says:


2a: Social distancing and capacity


Measures should be in place to ensure all users of community facilities follow the guidelines on social distancing, including strict adherence to social distancing of 2 metres or 1 metre with risk mitigation (where 2 metres is not viable) are acceptable. You should consider and set out the mitigations you will introduce in your risk assessment.


The size and circumstance of the premises will determine the maximum number of people that can be accommodated while also facilitating social distancing. In defining the number of people that can reasonably follow 2 metres distancing (or 1 metre with risk mitigation), the total floorspace as well as likely pinch points and busy areas should be taken into account (e.g. entrances, exits) and where possible alternative or one-way routes introduced.


Users should continue to socially distance from those they do not live with wherever possible. Users of community facilities should limit their social interactions to 2 households (including support bubbles) in any location; or, if outdoors, potentially up to 6 people from different households. It is against the law for gatherings of more than 30 people to take place in private homes (including gardens and other outdoor spaces). However, premises or locations which are COVID-19 secure will be able to hold more than 30 people, subject to their own capacity limits, although any individual groups should not interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending the venue with – so in a group no larger than 2 households or 6 people if outdoors.



Nowhere does the guidance seem to define the “risk mitigation” which permits 2-metre distancing to be reduced to 1 metre, and I would suggest 2 metres should be the minimum basis for spacing of sedentary chess-players, even the two players in a single game.  This could work in a room in use only by the chess club, though if the room was in a pub, and drinks were being served only at table, by a waiter/waitress, then that aspect of many club members chess evenings might be compromised.


A game of chess can, in the general case, conveniently be construed as 1 person from one household meeting with 1 person from anther household.  Thus each game constitutes a “group” in the above guidance, and the instruction “any individual groups should not interact with anyone outside of the group they are attending the venue with,” under 3c above, rather implies players from one game should not wander round the room looking at other games.  This latter point is in fact included in the above-referenced ECF guidance.


The disposition of equipment at a club evening would best involve the two players in a game each having their own boards placed side by side, so avoiding having players facing each other (thus providing a possible “mitigation” permitting the 1 metre spacing), with the players announcing their moves and making their opponents moves on their own boards.  This is all essentially as in a game involving a blind player.  If it were possible to make use of transparent screens, then they could be introduced between the players from one player’s side of the table to the other.  In fact transparent screens could allow face-to-face play, as in the two ways planned for use at the 2020 Irish Championship (see https://www.icu.ie/articles/906).  The Irish organisers have even devised a way of players using a single clock (a potentially tricky area) despite being well socially distanced and separated by a screen!


If the club met once a week, then sanitising chessmen etc might be unnecessary, as they could lie unused for over 72 hours, and so with any luck lose any coronaviruses they had picked up from the players.  Nevertheless, hand sanitising facilities would still need to be supplied for use before and after the evening’s activities.


Reopening chess club would impose obligations not only on the chess-players, but also on the venue managers in providing a COVID-19 secure venue.


Steve Westmoreland has reported on progress at Holmfirth is follows:


We can still start up Clubs again. Admittedly numbers will be down.


I put Holmfirth Chess Club back together as soon as the pub we play at re-opened.


Going for the 1 meter + guidance, with mitigations in place, and using the ECF risk assessment (enjoyed reading this as I am a Risk Manager!) Chess clubs and Covid-19 – English Chess Federation we are doing the following:

1. Hand sanitiser on each table (cheap off Amazon and needs to be over 60% alcohol)

2. Each player has their own board

3. Players do not sit directly opposite at the table (diagonally instead) and reflect moves on their boards

4. Request that there is no handshaking, hugging and so forth

5. As we are playing once a week and the room is cleaned daily, no scrubbing is required after sessions. The life cycle for COVID 19 on surfaces such as wood (4 days), plastic (2-3 days) and fabric (less than most hard surfaces) means we do not need to go overboard.


This mitigates touch risk and breathing risk. It caters for those concerned and those who think it is ridiculous. I have some advantages with big tables and a large upstairs room, whilst the pub do the track and trace (alongside another big tub of handwash which is mandatory on entering). I am getting 5-6 players a week across Huddersfield, Honley and Holmfirth, with this expected to increase when holidays are done (people minimising risk) and confidence picks up with others.



Click here for photographs of a Holmfirth chess evening in progress on these lines.


Current government guidance on social distancing can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing/staying-alert-and-safe-social-distancing-after-4-july.


If clubs eventually opened up okay, the next question would be how to play inter-club matches.  That is more difficult, and Tim Wall has published thoughts on “hybrid chess” as a way of achieving this.



Steve Mann (of whom the above are personal  thoughts, rather than views of the YCA)