Firstly, from the entire ICU committee - we hope you and your loved ones are keeping well and healthy at present. This has obviously been a hugely trying time for us all with no one untouched by the impacts of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic but hopefully we will soon get to the other side. However, in the meantime we must learn to live in this era with the health, safety, and happiness of those around us at the forefront of our minds. That remains the same today as it was when this virus first came to our island and so despite restrictions easing, please remember that it is essential to keep washing your hands, practice social distancing, wear a face cover/mask in crowds or indoor public spaces and avoid touching your face.
With that in mind, and having consulted with players, our hosts and the ICU committee, we have devised guidelines for how over the board chess can return in the short run and rules specific to how the Irish Championship will be run.
On Arrival - walk-through:
- Your temperature will be taken by an infrared thermometer. If you have a high temperature on first reading, we will allow you to wait in the outdoor courtyard of the venue for 5-10 minutes at which point you can have one further test. This second test is to allow for mis-readings and to allow for those who may have over-exerted in getting to the venue (i.e. running, cycling etc).
- At the same time, you will be required to make a verbal declaration of special playing rules; primarily that you are not experiencing any Covid-19 symptoms or living with anyone experiencing the same.
- If you do not have an acceptable temperature on the first and second test or answer yes to either of the questions in your declaration, you will not be permitted to play that day.
- If your temperature is too high for two days in a row, you will be removed from the tournament.
- If you are permitted entry, there will be facilities to store your phone and other devices with a box you can use for the 9 days. This station will be manned by volunteers throughout the week at all times.
- The final step will be a metal detector to ensure no devices are brought into the playing area.
- We advise you to arrive in advance of the start time to allow for time to complete this process. You will be required to maintain social distancing while queuing to enter.
- The usual Irish Championship time control will simplify to one time control per game where the time which is normally added after 40 moves is added from the start. This would be 135 mins + 35 second increment (instead of 105+30+30). This should reduce interactions with the arbiter and between opponents.
- Face coverings are required while both players are at the board and recommended throughout.
- There will be 30 players at most per 150 sq meters. For the Irish Championship, we are looking to use a 200 meter squared room with two distinct areas.
- No spectators. Boards ideally roped off in case players want to watch others to keep them outside of 2m.
- Hand-sanitizers to be used regularly, while good manners and hygiene are paramount.
- No handshaking. A simple good luck should suffice.
- Disinfectant spray for each table to be used before each game on pieces, boards and surrounding area.
- Communal areas such as bathrooms will be disinfected throughout the day.
- No eating will be permitted at the board. Designated areas will be indicated for snacking during the game.
- A clear barrier will be placed between both players above the board.
Players will be asked to pick their preferred option of the below two options for the event with distinct areas in the playing hall (upper area and lower area) for each (board numbers will move accordingly):
- (Default if players' preference does not align) 2 board option: 2 meter distance between players, one clock with extended levers, moves spoken after move is made but before clock is pushed.
- 1 board option: 1-1.5 meter distance between players. (NB: normally, there is about 0.5-0.7 meters between players).
If a player does not select an option in advance of the event, it will be assumed you are selecting the "1 board option".
- An outdoor gazebo will be set up to discuss games after you have completed your game.
- You should make your way out of the playing hall as soon as your game is over.
- We trialed the above guidelines on July 18th in Coláiste Éanna.
- We invited 10 players to participate.
- Photos can be seen in this article from the trial event.
- This was to allow organisers, arbiters and players familiarise themselves with these new guidelines and work out any kinks in advance.
- Entries can be made here up to and including July 25th.
- Pairings will be published soon afterward.
- Full refunds will be granted up to July 31st. If you feel symptoms leading up to the event, please be sure to avail of this.