Peter Ballard (1943—2021)
We are very sorry to report the death of Peter Ballard on Sunday, 16th May 2021.
Peter first came onto the Sheffield chess scene in the 1970s when he started working for British Steel. He was a Rotherham player of very long standing, having represented the club from around 1972 to 2018, when health problems made it too difficult for him to continue over the board. He played at an exceptional standard, being graded over 190 at points during his career (probably well above 2100 today).
During the pandemic Peter made a return to chess online, even winning the rapidplay Congress on his comeback in May 2020. He also enjoyed watching the games, and his username was regularly seen in the 'spectator rooms', where he would sometimes offer a few comments. Although I (Oli) sadly never had the opportunity to meet Peter in person, online he was always encouraging, unfailingly courteous, and often very funny as well.
Peter made an enormous contribution to Rotherham over many years, and all of us at the club would like to extend our sincere condolences to Peter's family and friends. A full obituary by Steve Mann has been posted on the S&DCA website.
Rotherham online: the first year
When we were first told to stay at home on 23 March 2020, I had a funny feeling we might be stuck inside for a bit longer than three weeks.
Sheffield chess had already entered its own lockdown the week beforehand, so that night, as the Prime Minister spoke, I created a workspace on Slack. Three weeks seemed hopelessly optimistic, but surely it'd all blow over in a couple of months' time. I started planning to run a six-week tournament. I'd played in the lichess4545 online leagues before and thought I could put something similar together that would work on a local level. At that point, I had never organised a chess tournament, didn't own a facemask, and Pfizer and AstraZeneca were not yet household names.
Here we are, a year and 20 tournaments later... with 5 events currently running. The first Online Championship started on 1 April 2020 and since that time 147 players have played over 1,600 games in the various competitions.
S&DCA Online League
The Sheffield association's online league is well underway. It's a five-round team Swiss played over 4 boards on Thursday nights.
The Rotherham squad consists of stalwarts Oli, Nat and John, along with former Rotherhamite Pete Catt and new signing Rich Dennis. As I write we are top of the league table thanks to victories over Sheffield Deaf and Woodseats A.
There are three rounds remaining and our next match will be on 7th January at 7.30pm. If you want to watch (or even better, play) get in touch with Oli.