Association debates covid measures ahead of new season

Rows over the board and walkouts before matches – those are possibilities raised at a Zoom meeting of Shropshire Chess Association called to discuss coronavirus protocols as face to face chess resumes. With some players not wanting to wear face masks, and some not wanting to play in matches unless their opponents are wearing face masks, clubs will be facing a potential minefield of practical problems.

The Zoom meeting held a number of informal, non-binding votes, to gauge sentiment, and now officials are to draw up proposals which can be voted on by players at an extraordinary general meeting. Recommendations include that players should have lateral flow tests in advance of league matches and, although some showed little enthusiasm for wearing masks for hours on end during matches, most at the meeting expressed a willingness to wear them.

Meanwhile Shrewsbury chess club, which has met at the Redwoods Centre in the county town for several years, is looking for a new venue.  Mark Smith from the club told the Zoom meeting: “The venue is not available and we are looking for alternatives. We will play our away games earlier in the season.”  And a team quickplay event which was due to be held at the Limes Hotel in Wellington on October 3 has been cancelled because of too few teams entering. Club captains are being consulted in an attempt to find a new date that works for most clubs.