Sheffield & District Chess Association

Established 1883







Impact of Easing of Covid Restrictions – the Bridge Approach


(These are my own views on observed developments, not those of S&DCA.  SM)


The replacement of legal restrictions by Government “guidance” including “expectations” and “recommendations”, as commented on earlier, leaves organisations of all kinds having to decide if and how they implement the Government’s “guidance”.


Traditional organised over-the-board chess is different from nightclubs, shops and public transport, but quite closely resembles what goes on in the bridge world, so it is was interesting to see the responses to two bridge organisations.


The English Bridge Union has for some time had a Summer Meeting (much like a chess congress) planned to be held from 6th to 15th of August, at Eastbourne.  On 16/07/2021, a notice was posted on its website ( announcing that this would be going ahead, and that virtually no Covid-related restrictions apply.  Their only Covid-related provision seems to be to state the government’s “guidance” on face masks and supply face masks to anyone wanting to wear them, and of course to ask those with symptoms not to attend (when, seemingly, you would probably have your entry fee refunded).  Wearing masks is primarily to protect others.  Thus asymptomatic Covid carriers are seemingly being encouraged to go, allowing them to choose not to wear a mask and so risk infecting others. This seems to transfer any responsibility for mitigation to those who are concerned by the possibility of infection.  Maybe reliance is being placed on vaccination.  The average age of bridge-players seems to be greater than that of chess-players, so most bridge-players will already be doubly vaccinated.  Any need for vaccination or negative COVID tests are explicitly discounted.


More locally, Sheffield Bridge Club ( plans to open up with four sessions per week from 20th July.  They seem as enthusiastic as the EBU regarding the prospect of opening up again, but they are adopting a more circumspect approach, saying, “Please ensure that you have either had both Covid-19 vaccinations or have had a negative lateral flow test before attending.”  “Well done Sheffield Bridge Club,” say I, for assuming some responsibility.


Lateral flow tests are being taken at Silverstone, which is obviously an outdoor event (motor racing).  So, there too, organisers are taking responsibility for mitigation measures, even at an outdoor event.


One can imagine that many chess-players would not be wanting to take a lateral flow test before playing in a match.  Even if a club decided to laterally flow-test members on entering purely internal meetings, complications might arise if a club wanted to laterally flow-test visiting team’s players.  Whilst clubs can make their own differing internal arrangements, for inter-club event organisers, clubs’ differing arrangements (which might be imposed by the venue owners) would need to be factored into plans.


Whatever Covid-mitigation measures are or are not laid down by organisers, the potential participants will individually assess whether they think reengaging with over-the-board chess is for them in the prevailing circumstances.



Steve Mann