The club closure has been extended indefinitely.



The Marshall Chess Club is closed. Why has it not yet reopened? The short answer is that there are a number of factors the Board of Governors has to consider—from the ethical to the legal to the practical—as it weighs this difficult question.

Scientific literature strongly suggests that COVID-19 spreads most effectively amid the following conditions:

  1. People in close proximity to one another
  2. Small, enclosed spaces.

Furthermore, the virus’s R0 factor—the degree of contagiousness—is very high and has been shown to occur in clusters with a single infected individual able to infect multiple others all in one go. The unfortunate reality is that playing chess at the MCC checks all of these boxes. Thus, while we may be legally permitted to reopen now, our duty to ensure the health and safety of our members counteracts our collective impulse and desire to do so.

This is not to say that the Board hasn't prepared for an eventual reopening. In June we established a Reopening Task Force. This group conducted extensive research and has produced a comprehensive reopening plan in July that covers everything from new measures for safety, policies for the premises, tournament rules, a socially distanced floor plan, and circumstances for re-closure. The board has been continually reviewing and revising this plan to remain ready as the pandemic evolves.

Our continued concern for everyone's well-being, as well as for the Club's long-term well-being, has kept us from reopening. The reality is that cases in NYC are again on the rise. Some schools and businesses that opened briefly have been shuttered again. The situation remains fluid, the virus remains dangerous, and giving in to an impulsive urge to play over-the-board chess could very well undermine the MCC’s future. The fact is: The only way to guarantee that the club is not responsible for the infection and illness of its members is to be closed for the time being—though we’d like to point out that in the grand scheme of things the closure will have been relatively short (barring any catastrophic and unforeseeable resurgences). In short, the Board will continue to closely monitor the situation, and if/when it looks safe to reopen, we will. Please believe us when we say that we are desperate to reopen. But it must be on the right terms and we want to make sure of a well-informed decision that will benefit the greatest number of our players.

Meanwhile, please check our website regularly for information on all our online classes, workshops, lectures, and tournaments! We urge you to assist the Club by participating as much as often as possible. We will emerge from this pandemic with a strong, robust membership, and will be ready to hit the ground running!

If you'd like to share your thoughts and questions on reopening (or any other topic), please email them to Bryan Quick at bryanq@marshallchessclub.org.