Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - November 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.



With its excellent facilities, comfortable accommodation, good food and friendly staff the Olde Barn Hotel, Marston, provided an excellent venue for this event which took place from 15th to 22nd September. When giving my votes of thanks, however, I acknowledged that the isolated situation with no safe walks for those without a guide was something we need to bear in mind when arranging future events. To some extent the problem was alleviated by two interesting trips provided by courtesy of South Kesteven Council. One to a steam brewery specializing in fruit beers and another to Belton House, a stately home now run by the National Trust. There were also a couple of shopping trips arranged for the non playing friends who were present.

The tournament was the first running of the new system approved at the AGM earlier this year, with a premier group of 12 playing in a seven round Swiss. The event was weakened by the absence of our number 1 Graham Lilley owing to ill health, Jack Horrocks and Matthew Hewitt, qualifiers who did not take their place, and Chris Ross starting a teaching diploma.

A little spice was added to round 1 with top seed Colin Chambers losing to Norman Wragg. Throughout the next rounds Mr. Reliable, Steve Burnell, seemed to be taking full advantage of Colin's poor start although Colin was soon working his way up through the field, and John Gallagher, David Hodgkins, Norman Wragg and Brian Perham were all giving a good account of themselves. By the final round the two top seeds had opened a gap ahead of the field and they went into the round with Steve just half a point ahead of Colin. Colin scored a comfortable win against Phil Gordon and Steve seemed to have built up an advantage against David Hodgkins but he failed to capitalize and was forced to accept a draw.

The challengers' event proved to be equally competitive with Chris Brown, Geoff Patching and Mark Kirkham neck and neck throughout. This event also ended in a tie with Chris, Mark and Geoff sharing first place. The trophy awarded to the leading lady went to Chris Brown. Final scores: Premier

: Burnell and Chambers 5.5 from 7, Gallagher 4.5, Lovell, Armstrong, Wragg, Hodgkins and Perham 4, Cohn 3.5, Gordon 3, Spink 1, Davey 0. Burnell and Chambers declined the offer of a play-off for the title. They will reign as joint champions throughout the next two years. This was accepted by the arbiters and the tournament sub-committee.

Challengers': Chris Brown, Mark Kirkham and Geoff Patching 6 from 7, Watkins 4, Collisson 3, Bob Brown 2, and Harrington 1.

We gratefully acknowledge support from the Olde Barn Hotel, South Kesteven Council, the Sir John Eastwood Charitable trust, Melton Mowbray Building Society and our magnificent team of helpers.

Stan Lovell.