In my last letter to club secretaries on 29 June, I was hopeful that over-the-board chess could resume early in the New Year. This hope, however, is proving to be unduly optimistic in the light of the second wave of coronavirus infection that we are experiencing, which has now led to a national lockdown.
The November edition of the ECF Newsletter offered a realistic assessment of the current state of affairs when it reported that “the chance of returning to over the board chess by April 2021 is looking remote”. Although this statement was made before the announcements of a vaccine breakthrough, the situation has not essentially changed. The advice from scientists continues to be that a return to anything approaching the kind of social interaction we knew before the advent of the pandemic, one which would ensure a secure playing environment for over-the-board chess, is not likely to happen before next summer at the very earliest.
The Committee will continue to monitor the situation, but it no longer seems feasible for the SCCA to run a league programme, however curtailed, in the 2020/21 season. The Competitions Secretary and I are proposing, therefore, that we abandon any attempt to do so.
If you wish to offer suggestions as to how over-the-board chess within the county could in the coming months be organised safely, though not necessarily in the league and cup format to which we have grown accustomed, I urge you to contact me. I am sure that, like me, you are eager to renew your acquaintance with the boards and pieces, not to mention the chess clocks, that are lying idle in your club rooms, but I am equally certain that you would not want to do so with disregard to the health of the chess community.
17 November 2020