Castle Chess Fareham Congress

Yes, that’s right: an actual chess congress! Castle Chess have thought carefully about how to resume over the board chess in a safe way.

The Lysses House Hotel, Fareham
The Lysses House Hotel, Fareham, venue for Castle Chess and HCA Congresses

Fareham Congress, 25-27th September

The Castle Chess Fareham Congress – their 17th- will run over the weekend 25-27th September 2020. The venue is the Lysses House Hotel, Fareham. The 6-round swiss is comprised of 3 Sections according to playing strength. Grades Under 115 ECF play in the Minor. Those Under 155 play in the Major, and grades above that in the Open Section. See their website online Entry Form for full details. An excerpt from it below gives the Playing Schedule and rate of Play:

What measures are Castle Chess taking to provide a safe tournament?

Some of you may have received the Castle Chess Newsletter, and the excerpt from it below shows how Castle Chess meet the challenge of providing a safe chess tournament environment.

Lysses House Hotel has put into place many safety measures regarding the use of toilets, extra deep cleaning of bedrooms, preparation and serving of food in the restaurant. Tea and Coffees will need to be ordered and paid for from the bar rather than in the congress office, as normal.

In the event that the curve of the virus increases dramatically then the tournament will not happen and all monies will be refunded.

Unless things are completely back to normal, which we think is unlikely, there will have to be some new playing conditions.

  1. Each player will be required to bring their own chess set and each player will make moves on their own board, just as you would if you are playing against a blind player.


Castle Chess can sell you a new tournament set and board for £15 if ordered in advance.

  1. You will not sit facing your opponent but diagonally away from them with the statutory social spacing distance.
  1. Two clocks will be placed back to back between the two boards so that each player can see a clock face and each player will press the buttons simultaneously on both clocks to complete their move.
  1. The result slip will be completed by the person with the white pieces and will be the only player to touch the slip when they place it in the results box.
  1. The arbiter will be on call as normal. At the end of the round the arbiter will clean the clocks ready for the next round.
  1. Players will be required to wear a mask or visor whilst in the hotel.
  1. Your temperature will be taken as you arrive upstairs for the tournament. Anyone who is not feeling well should stay away from the tournament.

We think that these will be the only alterations to the playing conditions.

Entry to the hotel and then the playing rooms will be controlled by the arbiters. Players are asked to follow their guidance and be a little patient as social distancing is maintained.

There will be lower numbers allowed to play in each of the playing rooms, which means that our total number of players who can enter for the weekend will be limited.

In order of priority players who reply earliest and who also are booked into the host hotel will be allocated a place in the tournament.

Because the number of players will be lower, we have to share the costs between fewer players and therefore Castle Chess will be adding a £10 CoronaVirus19 surcharge on top of the prices on the entry form.

Are other Congresses happening?

Castle Chess are not unique in getting back to over-the-board chess tournaments, as the chess world cautiously emerges from its COVID hibernation. Northumberland Congress, also this month, for example.

Hampshire Congress, however, normally on the 1st weekend of November, won’t be happening this year. Hampshire’s Secretary, John Wheeler, said in a recent email circular:

The Hampshire committee was in the middle of planning the 2020 congress when lockdown struck. We have been waiting for any sign that it would still be possible to go ahead, but we have now reluctantly concluded that it will not be possible to run the congress in 2020.

But we want you to understand that the congress is not happening in 2020. We do expect and hope that we will be able to run the congress next year – in 2021, same place, same time. And we hope to see you there.

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