The world has shrunk for most of us since the COVID-19 crisis took such a grip on 2020.
Members of the Ballarat Chess Club have obviously faced the same restrictions - but for many of them horizons have expanded way beyond where they were before the pandemic began.
The club, which has more than 60 online members across the city, were among the earliest groups in Ballarat to drop their usual face-to-face meetings, which traditionally take place on Thursday evenings at the Mechanics Institute.
But even so, the internet has allowed them to play all their usual fixtures - and many more besides.
Patrick Cook, the president of the club, said the chess club was "booming". It has gained more online members since restrictions were put in place - notably more than the traditional players who were no longer taking part.
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"We've been playing chess clubs all over the world - places like India, Bangladesh and South Africa," he said. "That's been quite enjoyable."
Countries as far-flung and exotic as the landlocked Central Asian nation of Tajikistan have featured in the fixtures list.
"We played the chess academy of their fourth largest city, and we beat them, which I was very pleased about," said Mr Cook.
Regular fixtures have been held as scheduled - although games are now held completely online rather than face-to-face over the board.
With online versions of the game widely available - the club uses chess.com - the club's players were perhaps ideally placed to adapt to lockdown restrictions.
Annual fixtures against rival regional clubs such as Geelong and Bendigo have proceeded as before, and the Ballarat Chess Championships is taking place as planned.
Mr Cook said some of the younger players were proving to be even more formidable opponents since the pandemic began.
"Online, they're demons, which is quite alarming," he said. "[Chess is a tremendous leveller. It's not interested in your age, religion or ethnicity."
Among the younger members enjoying the discipline and distraction of online chess games are Leonard and Justin Goodison, who have been playing even more regularly since the pandemic began.
They both think they have upped their game as a result. "I think we've both improved, " said Leonard.
They both said they were looking forward to playing face to face again but were grateful one of their favourite pastimes could carry on in the meantime. "It's been quite lucky we've been able to play chess."
- For more details on the chess club, go to ballaratchess.com.
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