Yesterday (14th March), the ECF issued updated guidance regarding coronavirus in which they suggested that all evening league chess be suspended for a period of three weeks. I believe that the Zollner, Sell and Gilroy county championships fall under this guidance, and so have decided to suspend play in these events.

Affected players have been notified by email and should not play any championship game, even if it has already been arranged.

I will review the suspension no later than 4 April, but I think that there is a good chance that the county championships will have to be terminated early this season.

I realise that normal club nights may still be taking place, but my intention with this action is to remove any sense of obligation on players who may be uneasy about playing in the current climate.

UPDATE 24 March 2020: the championship suspensions have been extended to 12 June when they will be reviewed again.

UPDATE 12 June 2020: following discussion within the NCA executive, the championship suspensions have been extended to 12 July when they will be reviewed again.

David Walker, tournament organiser.

The ECF has issued a further statement on coronavirus, making the suggestion that all evening chess leagues be suspended.

Notwithstanding that “it is for individual leagues to decide on their own policy and the ECF cannot make decisions for those organisations”, there is clearly an unacceptable legal risk to any volunteer-run organisation that chooses to carry on in the face of such a suggestion by the national governing body.

Therefore, I will no longer expect the following matches to be played on their scheduled dates:

Tynemouth C vs. Gateshead 17th March
Forest Hall E vs. Alnwick 18th March
Gosforth Salters vs. Tynemouth D 23rd March
Leam Lane Bullets vs. South Shields D 24th March
Gosforth Woodbines vs. Forest Hall E 30th March
Morpeth C vs. Forest Hall F 8th April
Alnwick vs. Gosforth Centurions 8th April
South Shields D vs. Forest Hall F 16th April

While it might seem odd to target league matches and allow friendly club nights to carry on, I think the key is that we make sure no-one feels compelled to attend their local club by the prospect of losing league points. Assuming the virus affects Britain the same way it affected Italy, Spain and France, we should probably expect the coming club night to be the last before the venues are asked to close.

Keep calm and wash your hands. My lichess.org handle is Hazyshade, what’s yours?

John Wall J ½-½ Hanif Zaman
Steve Bowey ½-½ Mez Benmaamar
Jeff Baird ½-½ Shawn Edgar Miranda
Jeff Bentham 1-0 Mohammed Alsharif
David Evans 1-0 Default

Friday 13th March 2020

Edward Dodds ½-½ Zheming Zhang
Chris Izod 1-0 Mark Younger
Andy Trevelyan 1-0 Ravi Wariyar
Robert Archer 1-0 Mike Smith
Jesus Urresti 1-0 Mehdi Mazerei

Thursday 12th March 2020

Ian Maughan ½-½ Martin Seeber
Christopher Sayers 0-1 Robert PC Mitcheson
Dave Campbell ½-½ Geoff Loxham
Ben A Wood 0-1 Alan Welsh
Asanga Gunasekera 0-1 John G Horton

Sunday 12th April 2020

David Wrigley 1-0 Stuart Skelsey
Tim Wrigley ½-½ Ciaran Macdonald
Derek JE Harris 1-0 Morgan French
Dave W Humphreys 0-1 Weiming Xu
Jonny Kearney 0-1 Ian R Rook

Thursday 12th March 2020

Konstantinos Delinoudous 1-0 Chris Goodall
Kevin Rowden ½-½ John Liddle
Dave Patterson 0-1 Ray Devenney
Dave Campbell ½-½ Jack Erskine Pereira
Eddie Czestochowski 0-1 Mark McKay

Monday 9th March 2020

John S Marsh ½-½ David Ramsey
David Stewardson ½-½ Harry W Robinson
J Robert Appleby 0-1 David Crawford
Joseph E Miller 1-0 David M Watson
Paul Ryan ½-½ Stephen Farrelly

Tuesday 10th March 2020