Well, our hiatus just got a bit longer. In light of the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it was announced this week that all Sheffield chess fixtures are to be postponed indefinitely.
“The Executive Committee has decided to suspend the current S&DCA chess season with immediate effect because of risks of transmission of the [SARS-CoV-2] virus among potentially vulnerable S&DCA chess club members[...] Discussions will be taking place in due course about how to conclude the league programme, e.g. whether or not it would be possible to complete outstanding matches towards the end of the summer, in the "gap" left because the Summer League will not be organised in its usual format, if at all.”
In line with recent government advice to avoid gatherings—and pubs and clubs in particular—we'll be pausing club nights from tomorrow.
Maybe it's time to get into some online chess? Stay healthy, keep washing your hands, see you again soon.
We're halfway through a two-week hiatus at the moment, this week having originally been set aside for the Cup which finished one round early this season. By contrast, February was a whirlwind—a lot of chess packed into a short month, with three fixtures since our Plate defeat to Darnall & Handsworth as well as a local congress over in Doncaster.
On the 19th, the B team seized their opportunity to take instant revenge against D&H B at the Bridge. Nat notched a nice win against Szilard Tamas on top board, while Oli eventually grabbed a full point on board 2, helping us to a 3½–2½ win—later deemed a 6-0 forfeit after Szilard was ruled ineligible.
That weekend saw Chris, Oli, Nat, Colin and Mick S attend the 2020 edition of the Doncaster Chess Congress. The Open section was eventually won by Oskar Hackner—formerly of this parish—with a perfect 5/5 score. No champagne for the Rotherham representatives though—Colin scored a steady 3/5 in the Minor, while Oli's 3½ in the Intermediate section was enough to win a £25 grading prize.
Hot on the heels of Doncaster Congress came a pair of back-to-back matches on Tuesday and Wednesday night. First, the B team suffered a 4–2 defeat away at Barnsley B, but the next day brought happier scenes as Rotherham A squeaked past an Aughton A side featuring Barry Williams fresh from his Minor triumph at Doncaster. A week later and Barnsley B were at the Bridge for the return match, but history repeated itself as Rotherham B were defeated 2–4.
Looking forward, we've got a spate of home matches coming up, starting with an A team match against Sheffield University when the season resumes next week.
The Richardson Plate Final. The Bridge Inn. The Big Room (with the new carpet). All the ingredients were there for a fabulous giant-killing in our battle against Darnall & Handsworth tonight, but sadly it wasn't to be.
As expected, our opponents fielded a pretty strong side. There was no lack of fighting spirit, with many of the games going down to the last few minutes on the clock, but in the final reckoning we could only manage 1½ points through Ed's win and Oli's draw on the bottom two boards.
Thanks to all the Rotherham players who got us this far—you all fought like lions throughout. Congratulations to D&H on a deserved win—they played some good chess and were extremely gracious in victory. We'll be back next season! 💪