The organisers of the 2020 Northumberland Congress have thanked North Tyneside Council for its fantastic support for the weekend event, which unfortunately has now been cancelled for the first time in 56 years due to the UK Government’s lockdown measures in the North East of England to restrict the spread of Coronavirus. The lockdown measures, which include a ban on socialising with people from different households, meant it was ultimately impossible to go ahead with the congress, despite one of the potentially biggest entries in years. The Congress had been scheduled to go ahead on 25-27 September at the Parks Leisure Centre, North Shields (the venue for the 2012 British Championships) under a strict regime of social distancing.
Congress Secretary Mick Riding said, “We are really sad to disappoint all the regular entrants to the congress – and many first-timers who were looking forward to coming up to Tyneside and enjoying a long-awaited weekend of over-the-board chess”.
As well as receiving a refund of their entry fee, all the players will be invited to come back next year, when hopefully the congress will be bigger and better than ever. Mick paid particular tribute to the Parks Leisure Centre manager, Tony Morrissey, and his staff, who he said had put in “a tremendous amount of work to make this event a success.”