Update on OTB chess

Dear Member,

We hope you are well and are coping ok during these ongoing challenging times. We have received a number of questions from members in relation to the plans for returning to over-the-board chess and we thought it would be useful to give you all an update.

The Welsh Chess Union (WCU) will continue to follow Welsh Government advice in relation to social distancing and returning to club premises and when the current advice is relaxed and we can start to consider returning to clubs and playing over-the-board chess we will get in touch further.

We have organised some online quickplay competitions and also an online league which was completed before Christmas.  A second online league is due to start on 16th March 2021 and clubs have until 28th February to enter this event.  There will also be further online events to be organised over the coming weeks and these will be advertised on the Welsh Chess Union website.

As a result of the pandemic and Welsh Government restrictions on meeting indoors, the WCU Management Board has decided to extend the 2019-20 season until such time as over-the-board chess returns and no membership fees were charged in September 2020.

The WCU will continue to follow Welsh Government guidelines and will make announcements regarding over-the-board chess as and when appropriate. When over-the-board chess returns, we will commence the 2021-22 season and we will then advise members of the membership fees which will apply for that season which will run to September 2022. Some members in the past have paid their membership fees directly to a Welsh Chess Union Paypal account. This account, due to inactivity, was expensive to run and has been closed. In future, members will need to pay their fees by bank transfer to the WCU account or by cheque.

The Welsh Chess Union asked all clubs to appoint a Covid-19 Officer and these officers have been asked to complete a Covid-19 Awareness Course organised by the Welsh Sports Association. We will ensure that, once we have a date for the resumption of over-the-board chess, we will work with these officers as well as Zone Officials to make sure clubs can resume as soon as possible. We will also be consulting with these individuals shortly to discover if there are any potential problems to individual clubs reopening and offer assistance where possible to ensure as many clubs as possible reopen and thus minimise the potential negative effect of the pandemic.

Once over-the-board chess resumes we want to make an impact in developing chess playing in Wales at all levels and ages. No one individual can take this challenge on alone. There may be many ways to help develop chess playing in Wales and the WCU is keen to gain members views and ideas. We are sure individual clubs will have undertaken certain activities which will have worked for them in the past and we are keen to hear about these activities so that we can share these ideas with other clubs and zones.

We want to develop a network of individuals who are prepared to make a contribution, however small, to chess development and outreach activities in Wales in whatever capacity works for them. By developing such a task force and sharing good ideas we can make the impact we want and take chess playing in Wales to a new level.

We want to expand the network of teachers, coaches, organisers and arbiters so that we can help improve standards and hold more events in the future. We also need to think about how we better retain the many children playing chess in schools and bring them through into the club environment.

The Welsh Chess Union is keen to work with local zones and clubs on chess development activities over the coming months and years. Russell Dodingtonwas elected Director of Development for the WCU at the last AGM. At the last Management Board meeting, Matthew Staniforth was appointed WCU Director of Publicity.

If you have some ideas or are prepared to get involved please get in touch either by replying to this email or by contacting Russell at russell.dodington@btinternet.com as I am sure he will be delighted to have a conversation on the subject with you. We really can make an impact in this regard but only if we all pull together.

We really hope many of you do get in touch.