Chess Activities and COVID-19

Junior Events

Contrary to current Government advice on school activities, we have decided to cancel the impending Welsh Junior Championship. The conditions affecting our Junior events are rather different from those seen in individual schools. As well as bringing together juniors from different schools, the tournament also requires the services of our volunteers – some of whom would be in an “at risk” category. Others may have family members who may be at risk. In these circumstances we feel we cannot expose our volunteers to any risk, nor do we wish them to have to make a difficult decision between attending the event or staying at home. Accordingly, we have decided to cancel the Junior championship this season. 

Adult tournaments

Similar considerations apply to adult (especially senior) tournaments. For these there is the additional consideration we have to pay significant deposits in advance, and these may be lost if there were to be Government or other advice forcing us to cancel at a later stage. 

Accordingly, we are considering cancelling the South Wales International for this season, and have suspended the WCPL – this could be restarted at a later date if conditions are suitable. We will review other events shortly, including WCU participation in international tournaments.

League matches

We have also discussed the situation of our normal zone league programmes, where there are different concerns.  It is likely that the normal club venues will not all provide the increased washing and sanitisation facilities that may be required. In addition, it is clear that the average age of our membership population is increasing, to the extent that a significant proportion falls within the “at risk” category. This will vary from club to club and will affect some zones in a different way to others. It is likely that those clubs with “at risk” members will find their activities disrupted, and this could well affect a club’s participation or performance in the league.  It does not seem equitable that a club’s standing should be affected by the composition or health of its members. However, circumstances vary from zone to zone.

We have already strongly recommended to zone executives that each should urgently consider the advisability of suspending league matches:

  • To minimise the risks associated with bringing different teams and players together
  • To ensure that a club’s standing in the league will not be unfairly affected if its teams are compromised by the absence of one or two “at risk” players
  • To take away the personal decision needed for each player, in each match – and minimise the risk to others

This will also obviate any problem in the league if a team is unable to field a full complement or to fulfil its league obligations. However, this must be a decision for each Zone management committee.

The WCU Management Board will continue to monitor the situation, and will post updates onto this website as circumstances change.

Paul Scott

Deputy Executive Director