Year Book 2019-20 Contents
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Ideas on How to Re-Introduce Over-the Board Team Chess
In the last month there have been ideas expressed on how a return to over-the-board team chess might be feasible. We are of course awaiting the outcome of a survey conducted by Andrew Zigmond among Yorkshire league clubs.
Sheffield & DCA has already made the decision that its usual September AGM will not be held, nor the following “Fixture Meeting”, and also that the league programme will NOT recommence as usual in late September, but that an on-line Executive meeting in September will review things. Meanwhile, a 4-board on-line team event is being initiated, on the Lichess website, under the direction of Oliver Brennan of Rotherham, who has already been running Sheffield & District individual on-line competitions. For many, however, on-line chess holds little attraction.
Whilst details of responses from Sheffield & District clubs are not available, one Ecclesall member has advised that of the 30 players who played in 2019-20, only 8 expressed an interest of return to OTB play in the foreseeable future. This highlights the advisability for any plan to return to OTB team chess to envisage smaller team sizes.
Ideas regarding the return of over-the-board team chess have been expressed in the last four weeks as to how this might be achieved.
Tim Wall from the North East has widely publicised his ideas on what he calls “hybrid chess”. In essence, this consists of players in a team meeting in their club venue with laptop computers, or similar, so that the team members play on line against opposite numbers in another team which is similarly meeting at its own venue. Thus it is a hybrid between team members meeting physically at a club venue, and on-line play against the opponent. This is not unlike the telephone matches which were held from time to time in the past, or the cable matches of yestercentury, to coin a word.
Telephone matches did not require players having special equipment (computer or whatever with internet access), and not all players are “on line” even today, though those who are not are in a very small minority. Not all who are “on line” have wifi access, so that could create some obstacles. Telephone matches were usually exceptional occurrences of a one-off nature. Teams did not usually play a whole series of matches in an event such as the national Club Championship by telephone. Usually it was just the odd telephone match against an unusually distant opponent. Most people agreeing to play telephone matches would not relish playing out the whole competition that way, and similarly not all players would necessarily relish a whole competition being played by “hybrid chess”.
Socially Distanced Over-the-Board Chess (“Pod Chess”)
Having opened up Holmfirth Chess Club (see here, but also see below), Steve Westmoreland mooted a Holmfirth Evening Chess League, inviting all Huddersfield league clubs, as well as Belgrave and Brighouse, both from the Calderdale league. In the plan, the expected reduced number of available players was addressed by having small teams or “pods”. A summary of the idea is as follows:
It was envisaged that as more players returned from isolation/quarantine/holiday, they could form a new “pod” to join in the play. Holmfirth was inviting clubs without access to their own venue at present to use Holmfirth’s premises. It was noted that the Wakefield club was taking a very cautious approach and were unlikely to play this side of Christmas.
Circumstances Beyond Our Control
Adoption of any such plans will of course be subject to developments with the severity of the pandemic, and any consequent changes in social distancing, or any return of lockdown albeit it only local.
This has already hit home in Kirklees, one of the five metropolitan districts into which West Yorkshire is divided, this one being the one centred on Huddersfield. Accordingly, Holmfirth Chess Club has been obliged to close down again. Steve Westmoreland reports (31/07/2020):