An update message from Dorset Chess

Hope you are all keeping well. It has been almost a month since the last update on the Dorset Chess Website and this message comes in two parts.

1. League Season Update

The UK Government continues to relax some of its lockdown measures and there is now increasing pressure on it to reduce the social distancing requirements which are essential before any over the board (‘OTB’) chess can be considered. As pubs, bars and restaurants will be opening ‘no earlier than 4 July’ it seems reasonable to expect, providing the daily figures continue to improve with little evidence of a second spike, that there might be a reduction in the current 2 metre social distancing requirement at the same time, or at least the UK Government may find some other innovative way to address the matter.

From our perspective we will continue to monitor not only the UK Government’s guidance but also any guidance from the English Chess Federation. Further, we need to be mindful, given almost two thirds of our local club players are over 60 and one third are over 70, that even when ‘permission is granted’ for a return to OTB chess, there will understandably be many who may prefer to wait even longer before their return. It is therefore expected, at least initially, that there could be a significant reduction in players available to play competitive otb chess in our leagues and we may need to think about creative ways to minimise the impact of this.

However, during the lockdown period with many people stuck indoors, some may have have turned to playing chess, either online or with their families, so here lies a fantastic opportunity for us to capitalise on!

To help support our clubs with regards to this and to promote local OTB chess when it does eventually return, following discussions with the two League Treasurers, Richard & Steve, and Ian, the DCCA President, we are likely to recommend that no club league fees will be charged until the 2021/22 season. We may also temporarily agree to the dropping of the reserve player model in the B&DCL to provide clubs and teams with greater flexibility to field reserves, particularly if we agree to completing this season’s fixtures. Further, we wish to look at ways to set up welcome events to attract potential new members.

A Consultation Document will be issued in the near future providing the options available to us covering the completion of this season and the start of next. However, given that we are still at an important phase of the pandemic and we do not know when OTB play may be allowed to resume, we should perhaps continue to remain patient and flexible in terms of making any immediate decision and move forward with some caution. We will also need to give Martin Clancy, our new Fixtures Secretary, a little time to reschedule this season’s fixtures, if appropriate, and/or prepare a new set of league fixtures for next season.

2. Dorset Chess Website

As already notified, from the 1st June Peter Anderson is our new Dorset Chess Webmaster and he has made a great start. Peter and I have been looking at innovative ways to continue to keep the Dorset Chess website current, vibrant & interesting during the current period of OTB chess inactivity and, as a result, we are currently providing the following:

 

Any other suggestions for website material would be greatly appreciated.

Please can you advise your members of this update and to ask them to continue to support Dorset Chess by reading our website.

Kind regards

Martin Simons

Graham Morris
June 19, 2020