Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People


The global pandemic made it impossible for us to offer our usual program of over-the-board events from March of 2020 to August of 2021. Undeterred, our members took to VOIP ( Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp, etc), Lichess, email, SMS and even just the good old fashioned telephone.

We will be running another remote event in the summer of 2022 after the regular over-the-board tournament has concluded.

Remote events: the story so far...

Our gazette editor (Julie Leonard) and our ECF representative (Gerry Walsh) gave up huge amounts of their time to organise more games than we would usually get through in three years, let alone 1.

TESSLa was a ladder that ran through the summer of 2020 and merged so many formats together that Julie and Gerry set themselves an almost impossible task of managing the wildly different rates of play.

The alternative autumn tournament replaced our usual international autumn congress and took the form of an online Swiss event. Everyone played there games in a weekend using VOIP, phone or Lichess.

Next came The Big Bash and a trip to an imaginary hotel (not California) where players were grouped into "suites" each named after a grand master.

After this we held a Remote Spring Congress to replace our traditional AGM weekend. Again, people played over a weekend using VOIP, phone or Lichess.

There then followed another summer ladder (TESSLa 2: The Return)

The last of the remote events in 2021 was The Alternative British Championship & Chairman's Cup which replaced our summer tournament, although the event ran over six weeks instead of seven days. Participants played one game a week on VOIP, phone or Lichess.

Prize winners in all these events were sent medals in the post and some of the less camera shy kindly sent us photos of them sporting there medals. We chose not to follow the pandemic trend and rate their rooms although some of the pics can be seen on our Facebook page.