Coronavirus: 71-year-old plays chess with grandson over FaceTime amid UK lockdown

Family has found creative new ways to keep in touch following outbreak

Grandfather plays chess with grandson over FaceTime during self-isolation

With the UK now on lockdown to help curb the spread of coronavirus, families are having to come up with creative new ways to keep in touch.

Before the outbreak, Chris Phillips from Codsall in Staffordshire, would spend every Saturday afternoon with his seven-year-old son, Ruben, and 71-year old father, Mick.

Every week, the trio would meet to watch their favourite football team, the Wolverhampton Wanderers, play a match but following the halting of mass gatherings, the family have been unable to attend.

In a bid to ensure his father, who suffers from Parkinson's and is in the high risk category, and son did not lose touch, Chris decided they should start a new weekly tradition.

Ruben’s activity of choice was a game of chess, and now the pair regularly play together using FaceTime.

“They have always been close and when the news broke that my dad would be isolated, Ruben was really upset,” Chris said.

“He started thinking about ways he could still see his grandad. It was all Ruben's idea to set up the game and on Saturday they both set up their chess boards.

“The set up was tricky but they worked out a grid system, similar to battleships, and it worked.”

Chris explained that the game has proved a great way for the family to stay in touch since his father and mother were forced to self-isolate because of their age and underlying health conditions, adding that their last session was particularly special.

Ruben plays chess with his 71-year-old grandfather over FaceTime 

“My dad's in the vulnerable category because he suffered from Parkinson's so him and my mum have been self-isolating,” Chris said.

“We used to see dad every Saturday afternoon for a football match because we've got season tickets so it's been tough for Ruben. It a nice way for them to stay in touch.

“Plus it was extra special because it was dad's birthday on Saturday so it we still got to see him and celebrate.”

The pair used to see each other every weekend to watch football 

Boris Johnson’s announcement saw the government place a ban on all public gatherings of more than two people – except for members of the same household.

The new guidelines also instructed people to stay at home except for a strictly limited set of reasons including shopping for basic necessities as infrequently as possible, one exercise outing a day, medical needs or caring for a vulnerable person and travelling to and from work, but only if absolutely necessary and it cannot be done from home.

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