Tuesday 3 March 2020

Don't panic

Apparently the end of the world involves running out of toilet paper, if the empty shelves in supermarkets can be believed. I am of course referring to the steps people are taking to prepare for the potential Covid-19 outbreak in Australian (and elsewhere).
While there is still a great degree of uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, it is already having an effect on some chess activities. The Chinese players in the upcoming Candidates tournament in Russia have been allowed into the country, but are required to spend 14 days in quarantine. More significantly, the 2020 Dubai Open has been cancelled. This tournament was very popular, and last year attracted 31 GM's in the 160 player field.
There is also talk of health precautions at tournaments that are going ahead. The most obvious one is to relax the 'hand shake rule', and instead allow a nod or even a bow before the game begins. And while this seems sensible, the health outcomes may be undone by the first capture of the game, when you come in contact with one of your opponents pieces.
As for local Australian events (including the Doeberl Cup and SIO), there doesn't seem to be any issues with them going ahead. Travel by overseas players may be affected, but at this stage, there is no thought of cancelling any such events.

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