Summer events threatened

Summer events threatened

The Swine Flu threatens to wreak havoc with major chess events this summer. England is expecting 100,000 new cases per day this August. If a player or member of staff falls ill, whole events will need to be shut down.

The British Championship and Staunton Memorial are in danger. In fact, I have just withdrawn as arbiter of the latter because two weeks in a tourist hotel in the middle of London's Strand, with meals served in big crowds, is too much of a risk. I'm not worried about myself, though I am in a target demographic by age and medical condition. But exposure to the virus would doom all the players and staff to the disease, and I have no medical insurance to cover my own needs.

In America, life will go on because the organizers are motivated by profit and unlikely to cancel events. But if cases are reported the health authorities might step in.

Back in May the threat was minor so we held our big scholastic events anyway and just insisted on no shaking hands. The kids were instructed to wave instead.

I suggest that all chessplayers try to play online instead of OTB when the flu peaks. We will get past this and get back to normal. If you are planning to play OTB,  make sure you contact the organizer and ask what the plans are if someone turns up with the flu.

Again, this is not a severe flu at this time. As a teacher I know I will get it sooner or later. I've actually had this flu back in the 70s. But for chess plans it is time to give it some serious consideration, as the flu ramps up for Phase 2. Think about others, not just yourself.

More from FM FM_Eric_Schiller
Gibraltar Finale: The Stage Is Set

Gibraltar Finale: The Stage Is Set

Gibraltar Round 8: Sprint To The Finish

Gibraltar Round 8: Sprint To The Finish