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Seniors chess awaits vaccine liberation

As planned events with a short horizon continue to be cancelled or put in doubt by the third wave of the Covid pandemic, increased vaccination (in some European countries at least) is leading to rising hopes that some over the board chess can be played in the second half of this year.

Since many countries are vaccinating senior citizens first, this is good news for our tournamnents. Meanwhile the English Chess Federation plans a second round of online championships for late July and early August (see our news page) while also hoping to hold limited championship finals over the board in October.

In Germany, the country that stages the most senior tournaments normally, the recent decision by Berlin to dictate Covid regulations to the regional governments means that organisers even in low-Covid areas cannot be sure their events can be held. We are watching the situation closely but, despite having received the Pfizer vaccine, do not expect to be playing any chess on the continent until 2022.

The prospects for FIDE senior events this year remain unclear but there are some hopes. Of the four annual events, the only one that won't take place for sure this year is the World Senior Teams (despite what the FIDE calendar may tell you).

All FIDE senior events are organised in two age categories, based on your age at 31 December in the year concerned.

For tournaments in 2021 the qualifying dates for the two FIDE age groups will be 31 December 1971 (for the 50+ Open and Women's tournaments) and 31 December 1956 for the 65+ championships.

There will be no FIDE World Senior Team Championships this year but the individual championships may go ahead in November. There is no information yet about European Senior events which were to be hosted by Poland but we are doubtful they will be held.

The earliest continental Senior tournament that may be held is in late May at Bad Neuenahr in the Rhineland.

Some senior tournaments (especially in Austria and Germany) are still run on the 60+ age group rule (sometimes 45+ and 55+ for women).

Please see our Seniors news and Seniors calendar pages for updates but we do not expect much to change until (we hope) vaccinations help the third wave of Covid-19 to pass.