Biel International Chess Tournament
July 18-29, 2020
The Biel International Chess Festival is a storied annual chess tournament taking place in Biel, Switzerland for the past 53 years.
After deliberating whether or not to cancel the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic lockdowns, the governing authorities decided to proceed with certain health measures in place.
The 2020 Biel Chess Festival has two Sections–the Grandmaster Section with 8 players participating, and the Open Section with 150 players competing!
See the health measures the Swiss put in place below.
The city of Biel sits next to Lake Biel at the foot of the Jura Mountains range in northwest Switzerland.
In 2012, Biel had about 55,000 inhabitants, and together with the surrounding districts almost 106,000 people. The town has been an industrial and watchmaking heart of Switzerland since the 19th century.
The Health Measures
Plexiglass shields installed over chess boards and pieces at Grandmasters’ tables separate the players and provide a measure of protection.
A Grandmaster reaches through the opening at the bottom of the plexiglass shield to capture an opponent’s piece.
Social distancing. In the Open Section, chess boards are set up six feet apart from each other and the width of the tables widened by two feet.
Masks and hand sanitizer are provided at each table for players in the Open Section with hand sanitizing stations also available nearby.
In the Grandmaster Section, two players are ready to start a chess game.
The Grandmasters’ tables are positioned on the stage above the Open Section in the tournament hall. Note the plexiglass shields separating the players from one another.
More social distancing. Large open spaces are provided for players to distance from one another, to relax after games and between rounds–and to review their games while physically distancing.
Tables, chairs, chess boards and pieces are sanitized between every round.