COVID-19 and the 4NCL (8 July 2020)

We have with great regret decided not to proceed with weekends 4 and 5 of this season's 4NCL, which we had hoped could be held in August and September. Given the continuing uncertainty caused by the prevailing Covid-19 pandemic, in our view the financial and operational risks both to the 4NCL and to Guaranteed Events are just too big to run the risk of proceeding at this stage.


We will be actively looking at two options for the future:

  1. If over the board chess resumes in an orderly manner and in a way which makes running 4NCL weekends viable by late 2020 we will consider starting the 2020/21 season in November/December 2020 and continuing as normal in 2021. In this event the 2019/20 season would effectively be abandoned (so there would be no promotions or relegations).

  2. If over the board chess does not resume in an orderly manner and in a way which makes running 4NCL weekends viable until 2021 we will consider holding the final two weekends of the 2019/20 season in March-May 2021, effectively 'losing' a season - assuming, that is, that a return to orderly over the board chess is possible even then. Please note that FIDE has given the option for leagues to extend beyond a year, and so any title norm opportunities would still be available in the event of option 2.

If there is a suitable gap in the calendar under option 2, we may look at holding a separate one-off weekend team event at some point.


We apologise for the continuing lack of clarity over future plans (other than the clarity that the 4NCL will not now resume until November/December 2020 at the earliest), but the 4NCL Board hopes that 4NCL captains and players will understand the difficulties that we face at present in making anything like informed decisions that do not entail significant risk at a time of such uncertainty.


Kind regards,

Mike Truran


  Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Cancelled: Easter Congress (9-13 Apr), Women's League (25-26 Apr), 3rd Spring BHol Congress (22-25 May) & Crewe Congress (10-12 July).


Postponed: Weekend 4 (28-29 Mar & 4-5 Apr) and Weekend 5 (8-10 May).


Entry forms for the three cancelled congresses and the cancelled Women's League have been withdrawn, and these events will not be taking place as planned given the current pandemic.



16.3.20 - I can now confirm that in light of the current coronavirus position and the Prime Minister's latest announcements we've decided to postpone weekends 4 and 5 of the 4NCL.


Some more background/detail:

  1. We considered simply cancelling the rest of the season. That was not an acceptable option given that our partners at Bridge Overseas/Guaranteed Events (BO/GE) would have remained financially liable for the cancelled bedroom allocations (around 50k for the final two weekends). We also considered holding the weekends as planned. That would have in our view presented an entirely unacceptable health risk to the players, arbiters and other attendees; in any event, the likely number of team and player withdrawals would probably make the weekends unviable as well as leaving BO/GE again with a substantial financial liability for bedroom cancellations. It appears that in many cases hotels will only consider waiving contracted-for charges if events are rescheduled to a later date with them.

  2. We have already confirmed WE4 for Divisions 1 and 2 as taking place on the weekend of 29-31 August at Mercure Telford Central Hotel (so the same venue as WE5 would have been played). Please note that this is the late summer bank holiday weekend, so three rounds will be played.

  3. BO/GE are in the course of negotiating the other dates and venues we need with the hotels; I hope to hear back from them later this week. At the moment we're hoping to get dates in August and in October/November, with the 2020/21 season starting in January next year, but all of that is of course subject both to what BO/GE can find for us and to the coronavirus situation as it develops.

  4. I also expect to hear later this week on whether bedroom bookings will be transferred across 'en bloc', or whether they will need to be cancelled and rebooked.

  5. The 4NCL will consider reimbursing non-refundable travel arrangements that have already been made. That said (and so as to avoid draining the 4NCL's meagre coffers if at all possible), could I please ask teams and players before they approach the 4NCL to check first whether if at all possible flights, train journeys etc that have already been booked can be transferred to later weekends once those weekends are confirmed? I'm afraid that the 4NCL won't be able to reimburse non-refundable hotel bookings.

  6. As well as helping with non-refundable travel costs we have also agreed to help Bridge Overseas with any unavoidable costs that they may incur during the process (for example non-refundable room hire charges). So, and with many apologies, we will therefore be applying some if not all of the 2019/20 prize fund to fund these costs. It is not what we would have wanted to do, but the 4NCL essentially runs on a not for profit basis and has no significant reserves to cope with situations such as this. Perhaps we should have, but that's one for another day.

  7. If we have to play Division 3 South on a 2 + 2 days basis rather than a 2 + 3 days basis (because the late summer bank holiday weekend is not available) we will put in place an appropriate workaround. Alex H and Dave T already have some ideas on how this might work. The Swiss-format divisions would run as usual, but with 10 rather than 11 rounds.

  8. I'll update you further as I receive more information. In the meantime, could you please share this information (and link) with your players?

Many thanks for your patience and understanding in these difficult times.


Kind regards,

Mike Truran




Four Nations Chess League

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