Bringing Chess to Visually Impaired People

The Gazette - November 2005

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.


It is with regret that I belatedly report the death a year ago, at the age of 86, of Jonathan Fisher. He was born without sight, educated at Benwell School for the blind, Newcastle, and left at the age of 16 to work on the family farm. In 1935 he started a poultry business which so thrived after the war that he was able to sell pullets to local farmers. A football pool win in the early 1950s enabled him to build large housing for the birds, install modern equipment and increase production. Jonathan designed the buildings himself! He had a wonderful rapport with his farm dogs.

Jonathan married Gladys in 1959, and the couple had two daughters, Ann and Rosemary.

By way of recreation in his younger days he played the piano and accordion in a local Scottish band. In the 1960s he learned chess, joined the BCA, ran one of the then round robin tapes and eventually rose to the Premier group of the BCA chess correspondence tournaments. I well remember playing him by post, and we had many a witty exchange: he beat me. He also played in over-the-board tournaments until rheumatoid arthritis curtailed his activities.

Jonathan, during his lifetime, had five guide dogs. He raised funds for the Guide Dogs Association, the RNIB and he was a founder member of the Eden Voluntary Association for the blind and partially-sighted.

Here was a man who clearly had community service at heart, he will be missed by many.

Note. News of Jonathan’s death has only lately reached us. A letter of condolence has been sent to the family, and I am grateful to his daughter, Ann, for providing some of the information about her father.