Guidance notes on the club’s COVID mitigation policy

Save the legal requirement, noted below, this policy is for guidance only. We hope that members who have their own and other players’ best interests at heart will follow this guidance to help ensure a sustainable and thriving chess community despite the current global concerns. The club committee will keep this policy under review and will comply with prevailing government and public health guidelines.

In our venue, the Willoughby Arms, chess can be played in three locations – the main playing room (upstairs), the bar (downstairs) and the garden area – either at open tables or in the covered cabins (heated in colder weather). Members and visitors can choose whether to play social chess or analyse games in the bar or the garden. The main playing room comprises a soundproofed area with space for 16 tables. Normally we need six to eight tables for a match, with any social chess on additional tables.

COVID symptoms

The main symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or three or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

For some people, having COVID can “feel like a bad cold”, with symptoms such as a headache, sore throat and a runny nose. If you think you may have COVID, it is important to get tested. Even people who don’t feel very ill can put others at risk.

Do not attend the club if you think you may have COVID

Those using the club should minimise viral transmission (ie avoid bringing the virus) by not attending matches or meetings if you

  • have tested positive for COVID (this is a legal requirement)
  • have any COVID symptoms
  • are living in a household with a person who has COVID

Action by the club

The club is mitigating airborne transmission by:

  • using a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifier during playing sessions
  • ventilating the venue as far as is practicable by opening the fire escape
  • spacing out tables as far as is practicable
  • providing a hand sanitiser at the venue to be used prior to a game


  • should be aware that, under the rules of chess, handshakes are no longer obligatory
  • should minimise moving around the room to watch other games
  • should avoid congregating around individual boards
  • are advised to travel to the venue alone if possible

Venue attendees

  • are encouraged to maintain social distancing as far as practicable
  • should consider wearing a mask or visor, but you are not obliged to do so
  • may, if you so wish, disclose your vaccine status but are not obliged to do so
  • should familiarise yourself with official guidance on COVID mitigation

Travelling to away matches

It is important that you do not travel to away matches with other members of your team if you have any symptoms of COVID or any worries that you may have contracted the virus. If travelling by car, you will be in a confined space for what may be quite a long period, and it would be irresponsible to put your team-mates at risk of infection. The car driver should notify passengers of any mitigation requirements for the journey.

Optional considerations

Given that many people in the chess community belong to a vulnerable demographic, members may wish to consider:

  • getting fully vaccinated, including booster jab if possible
  • taking a lateral flow test prior to matches or meetings

More information

Coronavirus page with official advice on the government website

HEPA purifier used at Kingston Chess Club