Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - May 2001

Edited by Peter Price
The views expressed in the Gazette do not necessarily reflect the policies or views of the BCA, nor those of the editor.


As reported in the last issue, John Way won the 35th BCA correspondence chess championship, a full point ahead of the field. We endorse our hearty congratulations to John, and assure him that a commemorative memento of the "Tylor" shield is in transit.

To learn more about this postal chess threat from abroad John writes:

Worcester in the 1940s was fertile soil for nurturing an interest in chess, entirely due to the relentless efforts of our mentor, Reginald Bonham. Before leaving school I had: won the school championship; participated in the British Junior at Hastings; played board five for Worcestershire, and

had been advanced with Bonham as the county's representative for the Midland qualifying competition for entry to the British championship. Needless to say, at Birmingham I met my Waterloo! - but it was heady stuff while it lasted.

As a chartered physiotherapist working for 20 years in London, chess receded into the background, though I did play for the old boys and for Middlesex county and was a member of a club in north London.

With the end of a turbulent marriage in 1973 came emigration to Canada, a more rewarding professional career, a happy marriage, a university degree and an amateur radio licence. While I played at two local clubs, correspondence chess started to appeal. It is equally demanding but different in

its requirements - not unlike the difference between a recording and a live performance. It has helped me to extract the maximum from a given position, and to visualise better. I now contemplate positions during a lull in conversation, or while taking a shower or a dip in the pool. Stamina has been replaced by an attention to detail and sober second thought.

I believe that the greatest respect one can show towards an opponent is to play the strongest game one can, and, at age 69, I hope to do this for a little longer.