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Seniors chess prospects improve

For more information about chess for over-50s, please see our Seniors calendar and our Seniors news page.

Increased vaccination (in some countries at least) is leading to rising hopes that some over the board chess can be played, starting this month and with increasing likelihood in the second half of this year.

The planned introduction of a European "green certificate" during July and August means that some international participation may be possible. However, risk of cancellation or postponement still remains and many organisers are still waiting on events or changed national regulations.

Since many countries are vaccinating senior citizens first, this is good news for our tournaments. 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.

The prospects for FIDE senior events this year remain unclear but there are increased hopes. We were expecting an announcement around now from FIDE or organisers arcoworldchess.com about the World Individuals planned for Assisi in November but no definite programme has been seen yet. As our news and calendar events hint, it looks as if the Italians will organise the European Senior Individual CHampionship and this may turn out to be instead of, rather than in addition to, the World event.

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). The European Senior Team Championship was announced for Polanica Zdroj, Poland, in August but no formal regulations have been published yet, but it now looks like that won't be happening.

In Germany, the country that stages the most senior tournaments normally, a decision by Berlin some weeks ago to dictate Covid regulations to their 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. However we are slightly more hopeful that it may be possible than we were back in May.

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.

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.